Do you need a COVID test at home? Find out what NC health insurances pay for [The Charlotte Observer]

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With the increase in COVID-19 cases in the Charlotte Demand for tests has also increased in the region and across the country.

And a recent change in federal policy aims to make home testing more accessible and affordable by guaranteeing that it is covered by health insurance.

Here’s what tests are covered and how to find them:

Does the health insurance have to take over COVID tests?

Federal officials announced on Monday a new requirement for “insurance companies and group health insurers to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at home”.

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The new plan, which goes into effect on Saturday, “means most consumers with private health insurance will go online or go to a pharmacy or store, buy a test and either pay for it in advance from their health insurance company or get reimbursed for the cost by filing a claim on their plan, “the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

The tests must be “authorized, cleared, or approved” by the FDA, the statement said, and the plan specifically covers up to eight home tests “per covered person per month”.

The children’s health insurance program and the Medicaid programs already had to “cover FDA-approved COVID-19 home tests at no cost,” according to HHS.

Medicare covers COVID-19 laboratory tests ordered by a doctor, pharmacist, or other authorized healthcare professional.

the North Carolina Do health insurances take over COVID tests?

Here are the coverage guidelines for COVID testing for some of the major health insurers that do North Carolina:

Aetna CVS Health covers the cost of COVID-19 tests. The company also waives “member co-payments for diagnostic tests related to COVID-19,” which means members do not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.

Blue Cross Blue Sign from NC covers the cost of “COVID-19 tests done in the lab or at home” that are FDA cleared. To be insured, members must have “undergone an individualized clinical assessment” and the test “must be issued by a licensed or authorized healthcare provider, or a licensed or authorized provider must refer someone to perform the test”.

Cigna “waives expenses for FDA-approved COVID-19 tests”. Members who “left the network and received an unexpected bill for a COVID-19 diagnostic visit or test” should call the hotline number on their ID card to resolve the issue.

Humana members “are eligible for COVID-19 free-of-charge testing” if the test is “ordered by a doctor or other licensed healthcare professional” because the member is symptomatic, has been exposed to someone with COVID, or a test before one other medical intervention is required. Humana Medicare Advantage and Medicaid members have “no expense” charges for COVID testing as long as the test is FDA cleared.

United Healthcare will cover the cost of COVID-19 testing if the test is FDA approved and “medically appropriate,” i.

Medicare “pays for COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed by a laboratory, such as PCR and antigen testing, at no cost from the beneficiary if the test is ordered by a doctor, naturopath, pharmacist, or other authorized health professional. ” according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare Certified Health Clinics also offer free home testing, and some Medicare Advantage plans may cover the cost of home testing.

All state Medicaid programs, including North Carolina’s programs, “are required to cover FDA-approved COVID-19 home tests,” according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

How to Get COVID Tests at Home

Over-the-counter tests can be purchased from various pharmacies, online retailers, and other stores, although some of them have had shortages.

Some drive-up sites in Mecklenburg District offer free home tests for collection “while stocks last”.

The federal government is also planning to ship 500 million over-the-counter home tests for free starting this month. A website for requesting tests is “soon” launched, according to HHS.

How to get a refund for COVID testing

If you buy COVID tests at home on or after 15. January, you should keep your receipt and apply to your insurance company. You will then be reimbursed for the full cost of the tests, up to eight tests per person per month.

Some health insurers may have “a network of preferred stores, pharmacies, and online retailers where you can get a no-cost test,” HHS adds.

Insurance companies are not required to reimburse customers for tests purchased before Saturday, HHS said, although some health insurers may have covered the test costs before the policy changed.

© 2022 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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