Insurers may be required to cover at-home COVID tests

Covid-19 at-home test. Photo credit: Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

The Biden Administration issued a statement in January outlining how Americans could receive free at-home, rapid COVID-19 test kits at their doorstep.

The Biden Administration partnered with the United States Postal Service to ensure that the half-billion tests they purchased would be available via the postal services’ website starting Jan. 19 and mailed to each household.

The number of tests were limited to four free tests per residential address and would be shipped within 7-12 days of ordering, according to the White House’s official website.

“To ensure equity and access for all Americans, the Administration will also launch a call line to help those unable to access the website to place orders, and work with national and local community based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting test,” the website reads.

On Monday, March 7, President Biden released a video letting people know that “if you’ve already ordered the free test, you can now order another round.”

That brought the maximum number of tests per household to a total of eight. However, the administration’s initiative to supply free COVID-19 testing didn’t stop there.

“As part of its ongoing efforts across many channels to expand Americans’ access to free testing, the Biden-Harris Administration is requiring insurance companies and group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests, so people with private health coverage can get them for free starting January 15,” a press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human services stated.

Florida state Senator Ana Rodriguez (R-Miami) proposed SB 328 to require that at-home COVID-19 test kits should be free and covered by health maintenance organizations and insurance companies.

The bill includes both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid antigen test kits to be “100 percent covered for an at-home COVID-19 test kit that is purchased with or without a prescription to be used at home or elsewhere,” according to the bill text. serves as a helpful guide for people who are eager for more information on the at-home test kits.

The website offers testing resources such as locations where at-home tests are available, free testing sites nationwide, 1-800 numbers for assistance with ordering at-home test, instructions on how to conduct the test and even insurance reimbursement for additional tests beyond the eight free tests offered to each household.

If passed, SB 328 would expire Dec 31, 2023.

A similar bill, HB 129, was filed by Representative Ardian Zika (R-Pasco) on Aug. 17 and had its first reading on Jan. 11. SB 328 was introduced Jan. 11.