San Diego County

Medicare Doesn't Cover At-Home COVID-19 Tests But There Are Ways to Get Them for Free

Medicare was not included in the federal mandate requiring insurers to cover a select amount of at-home COVID-19 tests

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As of Jan. 15, private health insurance companies are required to cover up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per person covered per month.

“I think the most important thing for people on Medicare to know is that unlike people with private insurance, they are not able currently to get reimbursed by Medicare for the cost of at-home tests that they might purchase from a pharmacy for example,” said Kaiser Family Foundation Deputy Director of Medicare Policy Juliette Cubanski.

Medicare beneficiaries can get at-home COVID-19 tests on the recently launched federal website COVIDtests.gov

Medicare Beneficiaries can also get at-home COVID-19 tests at Medicare Certified Health Clinics and community health centers when available.

If a doctor or other authorized health care provider orders an at-home COVID-19 test, the test will be covered.

Many healthcare experts agree that testing is important especially in older populations.

“Well, obviously, you know, this is a concern people with Medicare as many are 65 older. They fall in a very high-risk category for COVID and getting seriously ill if they are infected, so you know having the ability to be able to test themselves the way that we're all told to do nowadays before we get together with family and friends is really important,” Cubranski said.

Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan should check whether the plan covers at-home COVID-19 tests.  

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