NEWS & ANALYSIS

Medicare to Pay for At-Home COVID-19 Tests


Medicare will soon pay for at-home COVID-19 tests for beneficiaries. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday a new initiative that will allow Medicare beneficiaries and people with Medicare Advantage plans to access up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month for free at participating pharmacies and retailers, beginning “in the early spring,” The Hill reports

Medicare will directly reimburse participating pharmacies and other retailers, allowing beneficiaries to pick up tests for free. 

“There are a number of issues that have made it difficult to cover and pay for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. However, given the importance of expanding access to testing, CMS has identified a pathway that will expand access to free over-the-counter testing for Medicare beneficiaries,” the agency said in a statement.

The move comes shortly after the White House began requiring private insurance companies to cover the cost of eight at-home tests per person each month, as previously reported by Human Events News. 

The policy, however, did not apply to Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare only pays for COVID-19 tests taken at laboratories. If the test is ordered by a physician, pharmacist or “authorized health care professional,” there’s no cost to the beneficiary.