Though the U.S. economy is in much better shape now than it was earlier in the pandemic, many consumers are still incurring extra costs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. One such expense is paying for COVID-19 testing.
To be clear, COVID-19 testing has, since the start of the pandemic, been free for everyone at hospitals, urgent care facilities, and pharmacies. But at-home test kits, which can be a more convenient way to test, have not been made available for free. Those kits can be expensive, sometimes costing as much as $40 for a two-pack.
At a time when inflation is wreaking havoc on people’s budgets, shelling out that much for at-home test kits is something many consumers can’t afford. But those kits could, in some cases, be crucial to limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Thankfully, the Biden administration is taking steps to make it easier for Americans to test for COVID-19 in the comfort of their own homes. Soon, those who have private health insurance will be eligible to get reimbursed for the cost of their at-home test kits.
An important step during a raging pandemic
Although COVID-19 vaccines have been widely available to the general public since the spring, cases of the virus continue to rise. At-home testing is a good way to help people from different households gather more safely. It can also be a good way to limit the spread of the virus in schools, workplaces, and other public spaces.
Soon, roughly 150 million Americans with private health insurance (including employer-sponsored plans as well as Affordable Care Act plans) will be eligible to get reimbursed for the cost of at-home testing, making it a more feasible thing to do on a regular basis. And while this benefit doesn’t yet apply to those on Medicare and Medicaid, that could change soon, too.
The one downside is that Americans who purchase at-home testing kits may need to save their receipts, submit them to their insurance companies, and wait to get reimbursed. That could create a paperwork hassle, and it could also mean having to lay out the money for testing kits and wait weeks to get paid back. For those living paycheck to paycheck, that’s a tough thing to do. But still, waiting to get reimbursed is better than not getting reimbursed at all.
How to pay for at-home COVID testing
While at-home COVID-19 test kits will soon be eligible for reimbursement, right now, that setup isn’t yet in place. Cash-strapped consumers who need to purchase those …….