Biden Administration ruling on free OTC COVID-19 at home test kits & Medicare.
President Biden’s new provision that takes effect January 15th for free OTC Covid-19 at home test kits be paid for by insurance at a retail store or pharmacy doesn’t apply to Medicare. See excerpt below. There will be free at home test kits available, but a Medicare beneficiary who wants the at home OTC tests, they will have to order them online using the link button below. To read the full release from CMS, the Federal Agency that manages the Medicare program, click the button at the end of the the excerpt below.
#14 - I’m covered by Medicare. How do I get an at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 test?
HHS is providing up to 50 million free, at-home tests to community health centers and Medicare-certified health clinics for distribution at no cost to patients and community members. You can learn more about this program here. HHS also has established more than 10,000 free community-based pharmacy testing sites around the country. To respond to the Omicron surge, HHS and FEMA are creating surge testing sites in states across the nation. The Biden-Harris Administration is purchasing 500 million at-home, over-the-counter tests to be distributed for free to Americans who want them, with the initial delivery starting in January 2022. There will be a website where all Americans can request at-home tests for home delivery—for free. That link is above and clearly indicated.
For people covered by original fee-for-service Medicare, Medicare pays for COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed by a laboratory, such as PCR and antigen tests, with no beneficiary cost sharing when the test is ordered by a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist, or other authorized health care professional. People with Medicare can access one lab performed test without cost sharing per patient per year without an order. At this time original Medicare cannot pay for at-home tests through this program. Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage and payment for at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests, so consumers covered by Medicare Advantage should check with their plan.