At-Home COVID Tests Now Covered By Private Health Plans
Mesabi Tribune, The (MN)
As of Jan. 15, costs for at-home COVID-19 tests are now required to be covered by health plans offered by insurance companies, employers and groups under actions taken by the Biden Administration to expand Americans' access to free COVID-19 testing.
However, the Minnesota Department of Health, says it is important for Minnesota consumers to follow guidelines in order to get the costs covered by your health plan.
"Testing is a vital part of stopping the spread of COVID-19. President Biden's actions to add private health plan coverage for at-home tests is one more important option to assure Minnesotans have access to COVID-19 tests at no cost to you," said Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold in a news release issued Tuesday.
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcom said, "We encourage you to get tested for COVID-19 if you are exposed to or feel symptoms of COVID-19, whether it's at home or at a testing site. Testing is one of the critical strategies to slow the spread and prevent further hospitalizations and deaths from this virus."
Here is a brief summary of the new health plan coverage for COVID-19 at-home tests and guidance for you to have the costs covered.
The following is covered:
Coverage is for over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests authorized, cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Up to $12 (or actual cost if less than $12) per individual test, and up to 8 tests per person per month, is covered.
This additional cost coverage applies to private insurers or group health plans (such as self-insured employers). It also includes MNsure private health plans for individuals.
Different guidelines apply to Medicare and Medicaid public health plans.
How are costs covered?
Check with your health plan first: The most important guidance for Minnesotans is to check with your health plan first, prior to purchasing at-home tests, to ensure you are following the steps necessary to have your costs covered.
Find your health plan contact information by looking on the back of your health insurance card. Contact member services.
Check for direct coverage: Rather than seeking reimbursement for test costs, check with your health plan about direct coverage options, where you might be able to obtain at-home tests to be free at the point of sale, so you do not need to request reimbursement.
Follow process for reimbursement: If you pay for at-home tests out of your own pocket, you will need to find out from your health plan how to submit to get those costs reimbursed. Your health plan may require you to submit receipts for reimbursement if you pay for the tests out of pocket and send in a form.
Your health plan may still be in process of establishing how you can obtain reimbursement or direct coverage, but both options are required for health plans to offer.
Options that continue to be free of charge for Minnesota consumers for COVID-19 tests:
Tests at state-operated testing sites, which you can obtain without scheduling in advance.
For people who have tested positive and need to test negative before returning to group settings, such as work onsite, school or daycare, you need to check what type of test will be accepted.
Minnesotans who have complaints about obtaining this additional coverage for private health plans regulated by the state (this does not include employers who are self-insured) can file a complaint online with Commerce or can contact Commerce's Consumer Services Center: 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 or [email protected].