What group is especially vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19 even if fully vaccinated and boosted? Seniors. And who will have an especially tough time getting free at-home COVID tests under the Biden administration's plan? Yes, seniors.
As of Jan. 15, private insurers will cover the cost of eight at-home rapid COVID tests each month for their members — for as long as the public health emergency lasts.
Finding the tests will be hard enough, but Medicare beneficiaries face an even bigger hurdle: The administration's new rule doesn't apply to them.
It turns out that the laws governing traditional Medicare don't provide for coverage of self-administered diagnostic tests, which is precisely what the rapid antigen tests are and why they are an important tool for containing the pandemic.
"While at this time original Medicare cannot pay for at-home tests, testing remains a critical tool to help mitigate the spread of COVID," a statement from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said. Medicaid and CHIP cover at-home COVID tests, with no cost to beneficiaries, based on a 2021 Biden administration mandate.
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