Dec 2, 2021 - Health

Biden administration moves to make insurance cover at-home COVID tests

Photo of Joe Biden speaking into a microphone

President Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The federal government will issue guidance to allow people with private health insurance to seek reimbursement for the cost of at-home COVID tests, President Biden will announce Thursday.

Why it matters: The move — which comes amid growing concern about the Omicron variant and as part of the administration's larger strategy to mitigate the spread of COVID this winter — will expand access to at-home testing for over 150 million people.

Details: The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury are going through the rule-making process to determine how exactly it will work, one senior administration official said.

  • People who don't have private insurance are not covered by this action, but the administration will be "doubling down" on its commitment to send 50 million free at-home tests to key sites like health centers and rural clinics.
  • "Partnerships with trusted community providers will aid in getting these important testing supplies into the homes of our hardest-hit communities," the White House said in a fact sheet.
  • The supply of rapid at-home tests is on track to quadruple since late summer, according to administration officials.
  • Worth noting: The Biden administration also announced Thursday plans to tighten pre-departure testing protocols for international travelers.

The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the U.S.' first known case of the Omicron variant on Wednesday.

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