Following a White House policy announcement on COVID testing guidance, ACHP spoke with Roll Call’s Mary Ellen McIntire about the lack of a coordinated national testing strategy and rapid at-home COVID test availability.
Private health insurance plans will cover up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per consumer each month under a new Biden administration directive meant to make tests more affordable.
Tests purchased beginning on Jan. 15 will be covered. The departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury released guidance outlining the policy Monday, which urges insurance plans to cover the cost of tests up front, but also provides the option to reimburse enrollees for the purchase.
The guidance comes after the Biden administration shouldered criticism in recent weeks as the omicron variant surges and tests were hard to find during the holiday season.
“The guidance issued today fails to address the enormous barriers: significant shipping delays, sold-out pharmacies and retailers, and the early signs of price-gouging.” — Ceci Connolly, president and CEO, Alliance of Community Health Plans
Michael Bagel, ACHP’s director of public policy, said in an interview the administration should focus on issues like supply and price gouging first.
“This is a patchwork solution that isn’t actually addressing the underlying issue, which is making sure every American has access to a free test when they need it for an appropriate medical purpose, especially with omicron spreading as it is,” Bagel said.