At-home COVID-19 tests now covered by health plans

At-home COVID-19 tests are now covered by insurance plans following specific guidelines recently provided. 

The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that starting Jan. 15 costs for at-home COVID-19 tests are required to be covered by health plans offered by insurance companies and employers under actions taken by the Biden Administration to expand access to free COVID-19 testing. 

"We encourage you to get tested for COVID-19 if you are exposed to or feel symptoms of COVID-19, whether it’s at home or at a testing site," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm in an announcement. "Testing is one of the critical strategies to slow the spread and prevent further hospitalizations, and deaths, from this virus."

However, it’s important to follow guidelines provided in order to get costs covered.

What is covered?

Coverage includes over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests that are authorized, cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, up to $12 (or actual cost if less than $12) per individual test, and up to eight tests per person per month. 

Cost coverage applies to private insurers or group health plans such as self-insured employers, as well as, MNsure private health plans for individuals.

Different guidelines apply to Medicare and Medicaid public health plans.  

How are costs covered?

According to the announcement, health plan coverage should be checked prior to purchasing at-home tests to ensure necessary steps are taken to have costs covered. Rather than seeking reimbursement for test costs, check about direct coverage options in which at-home tests might be obtained free at the point of sale. Tests can also be ordered here

A health plan may still be in process of establishing how to obtain reimbursement or direct coverage, but both options are required to be offered.

If paid for out of pocket, a health plan may require submitted receipts for reimbursement