Starting 1/15, US Health Insurers Must Reimburse COVID-19 Home Tests

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The White House announced today that US health insurers must reimburse at home COVID tests for purchases starting 1/15. You can find the FAQs here.

Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover 8 free over-the-counter at-home tests, per covered individual, per month. That limit applies to people getting tests without medical orders, with medical orders there is no limit on reimbursement.

Tests may be packaged individually or with multiple tests in one package. Plans are required to cover 8 tests, per covered individual, per month, regardless of how they are packaged and sold.

Under most plans you will be able to get tests for free from local pharmacies or stores. If your plan offers this, you can still purchase tests yourself online or in stores and insurers must reimburse you for the cost of the test, up to $12 per individual test.

If your plan does not offer free tests from local pharmacies or stores, then there is no limit for how much you can be reimbursed for your test, up to the full price paid. Presumably that would mean you can even get reimbursed for eMed COVID telehealth tests which are valid for travel.

You can call your insurer to see if they will have free tests available from local pharmacies or stores on 1/15 to determine how much you can be reimbursed for your tests.

If you are a family of 6, starting on 1/15 you can make a monthly purchase for 24 packs of these 2 pack COVID tests for $17.98 each from Amazon. That’s a total of $431.52 plus tax that your private insurance will have to cover in full without hitting your deductible. If your total with tax is $470, that’s a potential 2,350 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $35 or more) that you can get every month by using your Chase Ink Cash Card to buy gift cards for Amazon at office supply stores to purchase these tests.

You can then submit your receipts with your private insurance provider for reimbursement. Insurers are not allowed to design the reimbursement process in a ways that delays reimbursement. You can call your insurer to learn how to submit receipts for reimbursement.

I just wonder what insurance premiums will look like at the next renewal?

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87 Comments On "Starting 1/15, US Health Insurers Must Reimburse COVID-19 Home Tests"

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The idea that we are still contact tracing is a joke.


Moshe, if someone who sat next to you in shul or at work tests positive, you don’t want to know? If your child is sick, you won’t tell her close friends?


If someone a few years ago had the flu, or the common cold, and you sat next to them, no one ever asked to know. Did you ask to know in 2019 or earlier? Why are we asking now. Vaxxed or not. It doesn’t protect others, as much as they make it seem so.


Yes, if people around me had the flu, they told me.
And please don’t say that Covid is just like a cold.


If people around you got sick they told you they got sick did you not go anywhere for the next week just in case? It’s time to start living normally allonside this virus as Trump said 18 months ago and yes it is what is

Alarmed ByU



It’s the flu

Dan\'s the man

I’m not Moshe but I don’t want to know. As far as child in school I’ll follow school guidelines but I don’t think they should quarantine anyone. If you’re not feeling well stay home.


I would want to know if someone next to me was sick. And I would expect them not to be in public exposing others unnecessarily, regardless of the virus.

My point is that we are beyond contact tracing. Every mine is sick with covid. So why are we spending billions of dollars and frantically getting tested? If you are sick, stay home. Who cares if it’s covid?


I could think of a few reasons, Money, power and fear . There are many ppl making money, and only way liberals stay I. Power is by fear


When I thought I had the flu a few years ago, it was because I felt sick and knew that someone I worked with had it. I went for a test. I got treatment that made it much less severe.
So even if this version of Covid is like the flu isn’t that helpful to know? It’s still more serious than a cold and there soon will be more treatments. If you can test at home you don’t have to go out to get a test and make others sick. The cost of treating people who get sick is still way more expensive than all the testing. Someday soon we hope it will not be needed.
I agree that elaborate contact tracing by government officials isn’t helpful in most cases. But who is doing that anyway in the US?


No wonder we pay exorbitant prices for health insurance. Another reason has just been added to the list. There is NO such thing as free when it comes to anything the government does. There is always a greater cost down the road.


Exactly my thought.


Thanks Dan.

On the term of cost. I think it will be a wash or they would save money because right now they are covering unlimited PCR test and they cost around $100 to $150. An OTC rapid test is $7 to $10. You would have to take a lot of rapid test to be at the level of spending they have now with PCR tests. This will make most people just take an easy rapid test instead of a PCR in an urgent care etc..


Our local PCR test costs (saliva-based developed at U. of IL) from reagents to logistics has gotten testing down to $20-$30/test. Not bad! (Including the initial $7m to develop it keeps getting absorbed with qty.)

Liam K. Nuj

I don’t know. Trying to get a reimbursement from my insurance company falls somewhere between getting a root canal and getting bit by a stray dog on my list of things I’d like to do.


When I’ve ordered tests online, there was no tax. These are not supposed to be taxable items .


So if I ordered today from Amazon and they only ship it after 1/15, is it reimbursable?


Wow a New low! Promoting insurance Fraud for the sake of 35 dollar worth of points


If you need tests, he’s telling you how you can also earn points. Where’s fraud?

Dan\'s #1 Fan

@Jay one is allowed to maximize ones earnings when purchasing items. If I need to purchase a medical device that costs $10,000 (which would be reimbursed by the insurance company), I would want to put it on the credit card that gives me the most amount of savings. There is literally 0 issue with Dan’s post. Next time, think a little before bringing someone down.


Great idea in theory but good luck finding any in stock. Once they are covered the shortage will get even worse


Binax now in stock at Walmart.


So Now Everyone will be subsidizing the hypochondriac people – instead of them paying for their problems themselves..


Well said


Can there tests be added to subscribe and save?

Sam F.

Only if you like collecting those “an item on our list is delayed/not available” emails.


Lololol. But I think they ihealth ones are in stock.


And then to top it all off you can sell the tests on ebay. Don’t say nowhere you have to use the test. Though the secondhand market for these is going to plummet.
I bet they’ll be going for >4.


Won’t plummet if there’s a shortage though.


eBay doesn’t let you sell COVID tests.


Also starting 1/15 Canada will be banning all unvaxed foreigners including spouses! In other news the US State Dept says Canada is a level 4 risk due to their massive uptick in cases.


Here’s a thought they may stop this ” testing”… Did you consider how much pollution all these wasted tests produce… the huge impact this will have on globalwarming (check your forecast for the northeast)…


This will increase the price of insurance for everyone.


Please don’t advocate buying 24 tests on 1/15 just because they are free. This takes away from folks who really need the tests at a time when demand is higher than supply.

Dan\'s #1 Fan

@ Seema im not disagreeing with you, but at the end of the day whether you like it or not, every person needs to look out for themselves. Granted you shouldn’t purchase 1,000 of them because that’s a little extravagant and def takes away from other people, but it’s def a good idea to keep these in stock in one’s house because there will be a shortage by the end of this month for who knows how long


thanks dan. haters gonna hate.

History Buff

People on traditional Medicare don’t qualify for this reimbursement.


So for people saying this will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket – I’ve gone to a local testing site several times. The fee paid per my EOB was about $190 to administer the test, and then another $100 to the lab for a PCR.

Meaning, the cost of a person buying 8 tests is less than the cost of just the lab fee for 1 pcr. This potentially saves insurers money.


My concern here is that the at home tests will become even harder to find, of everyone keeps buying 8 per person per month and hoarding them.


IMO People dont do the at home test correctly..People just swab the entry of the nose and dont get enough for an accurate reading


Will at-home PCR tests be covered. Ones that you test at home and send to a lab?


I guess don’t abuse the system so much? They are offering this and you can do it, but should you? If you need to be doing chronic at-home tests, then you need to. If you don’t need to do so, then you don’t. Zoom out and it’s fairly obvious that manipulating this program only contributes to the death spiral of rising costs. That spiral tends to extend into many other spaces when it comes to manufacturing spend with rewards programs, but in this particular case, it seems far more egregious. Still, I expect everyone who can to take advantage of this and then complain about costs later on. I’d say its incumbent upon the implementing bodies to solve this/these problems, but those entities have proven time and again that they can’t or won’t. So, who will?

reb yid

Not covered by Medicare (one could think about the political reasons for that, but that’s for another time). If you don’t need the tests, get as many as you can on the ins co’s dime, and give them to seniors for free.


The drug stores will run our very quickly — many are already out. As economists say: where the price is zero the demand is infinite. The best place to buy the tests going forward will be eBay, but I doubt that insurance will cover that.


Ordering tests just to get points is THEFT.


It’s not theft dude. You are not stealing anything. It’s perfectly legal to earn points for the purchase of tests which will be reimbursed. You are not “mandated” to use the tests – you can give them away if you want to. Not sure where or how you came up with THEFT. LOL!


Can the Abbott Binax AG card with emed proctor be used for outgoing international travel to Portugal if I need the antigen test within 24 hours of departure from Miami. Stressing so trying to match testing at cvs with some award flights as the PCR now they say 1-3 days and the times don’t fall into giving me more than 2 days unless I go and pay 175 here for a PCR at some local places. I would like to do the antigen test from Abbott that actually I was given free from palm beach last weekend, and be able to contact them anytime within the 24 hours my flight departs as backup. I have TAP and Lufthansa award flighhts on two separate days next week booked, as not knowing test outcomes, I have bs med up with a few flights. This testing makes things difficult for those of us who don’t want the jab.
Please advise if I can use the emed set up outbound. These were awards through United.


btw gopuff sells tests so you can double dip your $10 credit…..

Dan fan

@Dan does it work by the month, meaning to say that for the next fifteen days I can get 8, or from January fifteen to February fifteen?
Second can I buy all eight at once?
What did you mean by not hitting deductible? My private insurance has a very high deductible, will I be reimbursed?
Thanks again!


Just tried with HeathFirst and the representative didn’t know what I’m talking about. She said they only reimburse with Dr’s prescription


They said that this is being handled by CVS so I need to go to, create an account and click ‘submit prescription claim’ under ‘plan & benefits’ tab


Interrupting cow

Has anyone flown El-Al with the emed?


I wonder what a pain it will be to get reimbursed.

Not worth $35, but if you sell the tests…


“Presumably that would mean you can even get reimbursed for eMed COVID telehealth tests which are valid for travel.”

Has anybody tested this yet?


just filed with united health care, 20-30 bussiness days turnaround time on the reimbursement. OUCH


Anyone in washington, with Aetna? Aetna is not reimbursing for sales tax.


I am still waiting for someone to confirm that the emed can be used when flying from America to Israel and the return. Please let us know if you have been successful.


Anyone was reimbursed?


I just received a check in the mail from Oxford for the full amount!


Received full reimbursement (including shipping cost) for emed 6 pack from blue cross.


These testing kits literally cost less than one dollar to manufacture. These resellers are making a fortune on this.