Medicare and Medicare Benefit members will quickly be capable of get eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 assessments monthly immediately from eligible pharmacies, based on an announcement Thursday by the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies, or CMS.
Non-public and group medical insurance plans have been required to cowl free over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments since mid-January. Whereas the nation’s 64 million Medicare beneficiaries are lined for many different care associated to COVID-19, they have been neglected of that mandate.
“That is essential information that may make an enormous distinction in holding individuals protected,” stated Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in an electronic mail. “Final week, I led my Senate colleagues in urging the Biden administration to cowl free over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments for individuals on Medicare.”
Assessments to be out there in early spring
Members enrolled in Medicare and Medicare Benefit may have entry to as much as eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 assessments every month beginning in early spring, CMS stated in its announcement.
The coverage will take a while to implement as a result of it’s the primary of its form for Medicare, which has by no means earlier than lined any form of free over-the-counter take a look at for beneficiaries.
As of the announcement, dates and different particulars weren’t but out there, however CMS stated it’s “working across the clock to implement this initiative.”
Assessments will likely be free, not reimbursed later
The assessments will likely be free from the pharmacy. Medicare and Medicare Benefit members gained’t want to purchase COVID-19 assessments, then apply for reimbursement.
Medicare can pay pharmacies immediately for over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments, so members will be capable of get free assessments from collaborating places solely. CMS recommends asking your native pharmacy or well being care supplier in the event that they take part within the free at-home COVID-19 testing initiative as soon as it goes into impact.
Different testing choices out there within the meantime
Listed below are different choices for Medicare beneficiaries to get examined for COVID-19 earlier than the spring:
- Each family can obtain 4 free over-the-counter assessments from the federal authorities by way of covidtests.gov or by calling 800-232-0233.
- Group well being facilities, clinics and state and native governments may provide free at-home assessments.
- Medicare covers all prices for scientific laboratory assessments for COVID-19 each time they’re ordered by a well being care supplier, plus one take a look at per yr with out an order.
- Group-based testing websites provide free or low-cost laboratory assessments for COVID-19.
Medicare Benefit plans may already provide some protection for over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments, however they aren’t but required to take action. You probably have Medicare Benefit, examine your plan supplies or contact your insurer for extra info.
The article Medicare to Supply Free At-House COVID-19 Assessments in Early Spring initially appeared on NerdWallet.