WASHINGTON, D.C. — COVID-19 cases and hospitalized patients continue to impact health care systems across the country. However, government officials are expected to make some big changes this week, specifically with at-home tests.
Last week, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response team coordinator, said beginning this week, insurers will start reimbursing people for at-home tests.
"Those tests will be reimbursed by commercial insurance," Zients said.
No official guidance has been released about the process.
The prices of at-home tests vary. Usually, they are between $14-$25. However, the price has gone up nationwide over the last few days after various agreements with the federal government expired.
If a pharmacy or store doesn't work with an insurance company to make the test free up-front, it will likely mean the consumer will have to pay for it first on their own.
Consumers will likely have to go online and submit a claim to get reimbursed.
That process for some insurance companies takes 10 minutes to complete— with the money being refunded in 10-15 days, although that time span may vary.
NEW GOVERNMENT WEBSITE
As far as getting the government website up and running so that people can request free at-home tests, major news is expected this week as well.
According to The Washington Post, the federal government is finalizing an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service to ensure enough staff to deliver the tests.
The federal government has ordered 500 million tests.
The public contracting period for the initiative has closed, meaning tests will begin arriving at government facilities this week.
According to health officials, testing production has been increasing nationwide. In September, the U.S. was producing around 50 million tests per month. This month, officials expect the country to make 200 million.