The Biden Administration's new mandate that insurers cover the cost of at-home test does not include beneficiaries of Medicare. This is very unfortunate because Medicare recipients are the largest at-risk population. The mandate issued on January 15th, means that most consumers with private health coverage can purchase an at-home COVID test at a store or online and either get it paid for upfront by their insurance company by submitting their insurance card or get reimbursed by submitting a claim to their insurer.
The new mandate requires that private insurers cover the cost of at home tests–up to eight per enrollee per month. However, because Medicare enrollees are not included in this mandate, this leaves many afraid of the consequences. There are about 63.3 million people enrolled in Medicare and the majority of these beneficiaries (55.1 million) are age 65 or older, and the rest (though younger) are generally people with disabilities. Many enrolled in Medicare may have pre-existing illnesses that leave them very vulnerable to COVID.
Fortunately, there are still options for Medicare beneficiaries to get access to free COVID tests.
It hardly seems fair that Medicare beneficiaries have to jump through more hoops to get access to the free tests. However, this is due to the specific legal authority used to implement the directive.
It seems that for now, this is how it will continue unless there’s another strong push for Medicare recipients to be included in the mandate. At which point It would require congressional action. For now, Don’t Hold Your Breath!!
about the author
Diahanna is a HealthTree Coach specializing in financial help for blood cancer patients. As a professional financial consultant and former caregiver of her husband who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Diahanna perfectly understands the financial issues facing blood cancer patients.