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Medicare to Cover Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests

When the Biden administration required health care insurers to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests it unfortunately did not include Medicare, leaving this population of 60 million enrollees out. All that changed yesterday when CMS announced that Medicare beneficiaries will be able to obtain up to eight free at-home COVID-19 tests each month.
 
Starting this spring, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the “Part B” outpatient benefit will be able to receive up to eight no-cost over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests through participating pharmacies and at other locations.  Additionally, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans may offer over-the-counter COVID-19 tests as a supplemental benefit—so MA plan beneficiaries should check to see if their plan includes such a benefit.
 
If looking for a test before spring, people with Medicare can access free tests through other channels created by the Biden Administration including:
  • Four free over-the-counter tests that will be home-delivered through covidtests.gov.
  • Access to COVID-19 tests at community-based testing sites.
  • Free lab-based PCR tests and antigen tests performed by a laboratory when the test is ordered by a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist or other authorized health care professional. In addition to accessing a COVID-19 lab test ordered by a health care professional, people with Medicare are able to receive one lab-performed test without an order, also without cost sharing, during the public health emergency.
For more information, please see CMS's Frequently Asked Questions,
https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-19-over-counter-otc-tests-medicare-frequently-asked-questions.pdf.

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