Kansas to phase out some free testing for COVID-19 next year

covid testing
Posted at 5:04 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 18:04:14-05

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas will start next year to require employers, individuals and health insurance companies to pay some costs associated with COVID-19 testing.

The state Department of Health and Environment announced Friday that it will start phasing out free screening tests for people who aren't showing COVID-19 symptoms or who haven't potentially been exposed. The agency said it expects the policy to begin in March 2022.

The department said it can't sustain having public health agencies cover the cost of all testing indefinitely. The agency said it initially allocated $141 million in federal funds to make COVID-19 tests available and support commercial and university labs to expand processing and sampling capacity. But, the department said, infections from the delta variant depleted the funds faster than expected.

"Testing has become an increasingly important way in which those who choose to be unvaccinated may still be able to work, attend events, and travel," Ashley Goss, the department's acting secretary, said in a statement.

The changes will mainly affect programs used by employers to test 10% of their workers on a regular basis and programs by community organizations to offer free rapid tests.