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The Biden administration has announced a new policy that could help increase the availability of home testing for COVID-19 for millions of Americans with private health insurance. As of January 15, private health  plans must pay for eight COVID-19 home tests per person per month. 
 “The new coverage requirement means that most consumers with private health insurance will be able to go online, go to a pharmacy or store to buy a test, and pay or apply in advance at the health plan to get a refund. In their  plan,  the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a press release. This policy applies to both group health plans offered through employers and plans purchased in  individual markets. 
 This requirement applies to all OTC tests for COVID19 approved, approved, or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under CMS. People do not need a prescription or prior authorization from a provider to get a quick test.
 Individual restrictions apply to each insured family member. For example, a family of five  on the same plan can pay for up to 40 COVID-19 tests per month. 
 = There are two ways to get tested. First, you can purchase the test directly from your pharmacy or insurance company's preferred retailer, with no out-of-pocket costs. (According to the CMS release, this policy is designed to encourage insurers to create such a preferred seller network.) Cost-sharing per capita. (That means you don't have to pay any deductibles or copays first, and you won't be charged for coinsurance later.) Choose the network you want, then apply for a refund. The insurer will later reimburse you  up to $12 for each individual test. So even if the insurance company has a network of preferred sellers, they  still have to reimburse people for the cost of testing they bought elsewhere (up to $12). 
 Preliminary data for 2021 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows that the new policy will affect the majority of Americans, with 60% of them covered by private health insurance. CMS Manager Chiquita Brooks Lasur said, “Today's action is to  further remove financial barriers and expand access to testing for COVID-19 for millions of people. Dr. Sabrina Corlett, a research professor at Georgetown University's Center for Health Insurance Reform, told the New York Times that the new policy could help families save hundreds of dollars a month on COVID-19 testing. 
 This is an important step, but the new insurance policy will not remove all the hurdles Americans face when trying to get their COVID test tested at home, such as the limited availability of home testing. "The rewards exist, but it won't help individual consumers if they don't have a test to buy," said Lindsay Dawson, analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation. In fact,  the new policy is likely to actually increase demand for home testing and exacerbate supply shortfalls, Dawson explained. (It is also worth noting that many tests themselves have problems with accuracy, given the fact that some rapid antigen tests are not  good at detecting scabies variants of the novel coronavirus, as reported by SELF.) Beyond 
 Policy, Civil Health There is still a testing gap in coverage  for millions of uninsured Americans. According to CMS, people who have government health insurance through the government's Medicaid and children's health insurance programs can already get FDA-approved home testing for COVID19 at no cost. However, as part of a Medicare plan, you can  get free lab tests  only as ordered by your health care provider or pharmacist. (According to the CMS release, HHS is also offering up to 50 million free home tests to community health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics.) % of people of all ages, according to NCHS. Offering free home testing based on your coverage status is certainly not an ideal way to lower the barrier to testing for COVID-19.

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