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Free at-home COVID testing kits are coming: How and where to get yours

COVID-19 home testing kit

The US authorities is mandating that insurance coverage corporations pay for at-home COVID exams.


Stephen Shankland/CNET

For probably the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO and CDC web sites.

As Christmas approaches and the new omicron variant surges throughout the US, at-home COVID-19 check kits are in excessive demand, although excessive value and dwindling provides have left many wanting. Beginning early subsequent yr, over-the-counter check kits can be out there without spending a dime for everybody. Beneath a plan announced by President Joe Biden, medical health insurance corporations can be required to reimburse People for fast COVID-19 antigen exams, which might value greater than $25 every.

Those that do not have medical health insurance may also have entry to free at-home COVID testing kits at group websites like well being facilities and rural clinics. The Biden administration has pledged to make 50 million exams out there at these websites.

The administration’s coverage is a part of an effort to fight the 2 most important coronavirus mutations now dominant within the US: the damaging delta variant that took maintain over the summer season, and the brand new faster-spreading omicron pressure, which has been present in at the very least 44 states and is anticipated to quickly change into the dominant variant. (This is how omicron is completely different from delta.) 

Omicron’s arrival as Christmas and New 12 months’s journey ramps up has result in a scarcity of check kits and raised prices for testing applications in lots of states. In response, producers have elevated manufacturing, and the FDA has been approving new exams at an unprecedented velocity: ACON Laboratories says will probably be capable of produce greater than 100 million Flowflex COVID-19 Dwelling Take a look at kits per 30 days by the end of 2021, and greater than 200 million by February.

We’ll share what we all know now, and can proceed to replace this story as we be taught extra particulars, together with when this system begins and precisely the way it will work. Additionally, this is the newest on Merck’s COVID antiviral capsule and how to decide on a booster shot.

Learn extra: Intelligent COVID booster shot trick: Textual content this quantity without spending a dime rides, simple appointments

When will free COVID-19 house check kits be out there?

The White Home has stated it should challenge reimbursement tips by January 15. Well being insurers are anticipated to begin reimbursing the prices of at-home testing shortly after. The administration’s plan is just not anticipated to be retroactive, nonetheless, so kits bought through the holidays is not going to possible be coated. 

Some states, including Vermont, aren’t ready for Biden’s plan to take impact: They’ve mandated insurers to begin paying for at-home kits now. Different states, together with Washington, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, have began issuing free check kits to their states’ residents. And final Monday, Massachusetts launched a plan to distribute 2.1 million free test kits to 100 municipalities. In case you do not stay in these states, it’s possible you’ll wish to test along with your employer. Some personal corporations have begun providing reimbursement choices for at-home exams.

As soon as the White Home plan does take impact, anybody with insurance coverage be capable of submit a receipt or different proof of cost for reimbursement after shopping for a check. The method is much like visiting an on-site testing facility and submitting your invoice to a medical health insurance supplier.  

It is nonetheless unclear if some areas will ask to your medical health insurance card and submit the invoice to your insurance coverage supplier for you, as some do whenever you take a check on-site. We’ll replace this story as we be taught extra.


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The place can I get an at-home COVID-19 check?

At-home fast COVID-19 exams can be found at pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart. You may as well purchase them on-line at Amazon, and the shops listed above. It is unclear at the moment if you happen to can nonetheless declare them in your insurance coverage whenever you purchase on-line. Every field sometimes comes with two exams, except you purchase in bulk.

What if I haven’t got medical health insurance?

For these with out insurance coverage, Biden says there can be “hundreds of areas” out there to select up COVID-19 check kits. You’ll take the equipment house to check in personal, relatively than get swabbed in a drive-thru clinic.

In its announcement on Dec. 2, the Biden administration promised to distribute at the very least 50 million free exams to group well being facilities and different organizations.

What ought to I do if my at-home check exhibits optimistic for COVID?

In case you take an at-home check and it says you are optimistic for COVID-19, it is really useful that you simply flip your ends in to your well being care supplier. It is best to keep house and isolate for 10 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

For extra info, this is the newest on the federal vaccine mandate and every little thing it’s essential to know concerning the Moderna booster shot.

The knowledge contained on this article is for instructional and informational functions solely and isn’t supposed as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you might have a couple of medical situation or well being aims.

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