Medicare and Medicare Benefit members will quickly be capable to get eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 assessments per thirty days immediately from eligible pharmacies, in keeping with an announcement Thursday by the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies, or CMS.
Personal 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 had been omitted of that mandate.
“That is vital information that may make an enormous distinction in retaining folks secure,” mentioned 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 folks on Medicare.”
Exams to be out there in early spring
Members enrolled in Medicare and Medicare Benefit can have entry to as much as eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 assessments every month beginning in early spring, CMS mentioned in its announcement.
The coverage will take a while to implement as a result of it’s the primary of its variety for Medicare, which has by no means earlier than lined any sort 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 mentioned it’s “working across the clock to implement this initiative.”
Exams 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 pays pharmacies immediately for over-the-counter COVID-19 assessments, so members will be capable to get free assessments from collaborating areas 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 here 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 via covidtests.gov or by calling 800-232-0233.
- Neighborhood well being facilities, clinics and state and native governments may provide free at-home assessments.
- Medicare covers all prices for medical laboratory assessments for COVID-19 at any time when they’re ordered by a well being care supplier, plus one take a look at per 12 months with out an order.
- Neighborhood-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 data.
The article Medicare to Provide Free At-Dwelling COVID-19 Exams in Early Spring initially appeared on NerdWallet.