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People ought to quickly have the ability to get free at-home Covid assessments

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Rapid Covid-19 test kits for the home will be distributed at Chelsea Community Connections in Chelsea, Massachusetts on December 17, 2021.

Joseph Precious | AFP | Getty Images

Who can get the free trials?

The White House says the 150 million Americans who have private health insurance are eligible for a full refund after purchasing a home Covid test. This includes people who are insured with their employer as well as those who bought a plan on the Affordable Care Act marketplace, Dawson said.

The new rules do not apply to Medicaid and Medicare policyholders, although this may change, and Medicare policyholders with private insurance may be covered.

Short-term plans or health-care sharing plans typically don’t have to cover your tests, said Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

Home Covid Tests are also an eligible expense for Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts.

Can I get any test?

Experts said we will have to wait for further instructions from the government to know what is covered, but they expect most of the home tests available in pharmacies to be included in the policy.

How do I make sure that my insurer reimburses me?

You probably still have some work to do to get the money back, Dawson said.

Many people may not even be familiar with their provider’s refund policy. (You can start learning about this by reaching out to your plan.)

Keeping your receipt will be critical, said Caitlin Donovan, a spokeswoman for the Patient Advocate Foundation

“Your normal receipt should be fine – I even printed out receipts from Amazon – and then you’d have to send it in,” Donovan said, adding that insurers usually have a reimbursement form that you want to fill out.

“Insurers usually have a physical mailing address,” she said. “They may also have an option for electronic submission, which means you can upload them to their website or email them.”

To send a simpler receipt, Donovan recommends asking the cashier to call the tests separately from further purchases.

Corlette hopes government guidelines in January will require insurers to reimburse people for bills within a certain timeframe.

“It can take some companies a long time to cut these checks,” Corlette said.

What if i don’t have insurance?

If you don’t have insurance or are covered by Medicaid and Medicare, the White House doubles the number of free tests it distributes in community centers from 25 million to 50 million.

You should be able to find one of these centers on your state or local health agency website, Corlette said.

When should I do a home test?

VioletaStoimenova | E + | Getty Images

Dawson mentioned some of the most common circumstances people might want to test for the virus: They have come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid, they show symptoms of the virus, or they are expected to participate in a risk event, such as a large family gathering or a meeting with an immunocompromised person.

Can I use a home test on the go?

Most take-away tests bought at your local Walgreens, for example, don’t provide results for you to use before a flight or cruise. However, according to travel website The Points Guy, there is at least one home test that the CDC has approved for travel purposes.

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