US requires private health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing at home – Community News

US requires private health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing at home

A new home testing kit for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) made by Lucira Health, recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, lies on a table in a Sutter Health lab in San Carlos, California, U.S. November 18, 2020. REUTERS/Nathan Frandino

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. government will require private health insurers to reimburse customers for the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at home as part of new measures to fight the pandemic that President Joe Biden will unveil on That government officials said Thursday.

The refund rule will benefit about 150 million Americans who have private health insurance, a senior government official told reporters ahead of Biden’s announcement.

Government agencies, including the Health and Human Services Department, Labor Department and Treasury Department, will issue guidance on the issue by Jan. 15, the White House said.

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The rule will not apply retroactively and will not apply to people with public health insurance, the official said. The government plans to distribute 50 million tests to clinics and testing sites nationwide to help those who have no private insurance and those who have no insurance at all.

Biden plans to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Thursday and outline his administration’s strategy to fight the winter pandemic by stepping up efforts to encourage Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. including steps to expand availability at pharmacies.

Efforts to expand testing come as the country and the world face new threats from the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Fears of the variant have crushed financial markets and cast doubt on the speed of the global economic recovery as the pandemic continues.

More than 775,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States alone, with much of the US population hesitant about the vaccine, thwarting Biden’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

The White House’s winter plan also covers travel.

Beginning next week, the United States will require that incoming international travelers be tested for COVID-19 within one day of departure, regardless of vaccination status. The mask requirements for planes, trains and public transport vehicles will be extended until March 18.[ID:nL1N2SM3FR[ID:nL1N2SM3FR[ID:nL1N2SM3FR[ID:nL1N2SM3FR

Biden will also urge companies to regularly vaccinate or test employees, despite legal setbacks in his efforts to force employers to do so.

“The president will call on companies to move quickly and have their employees vaccinated or tested weekly. This is especially important given the Omicron variant,” the White House said in a statement.

In early November, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked Biden’s mandate for vaccines or workplace testing for companies with at least 100 employees.

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Reporting by Jeff Mason Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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