HOUSTON - The website to order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government is now open, and insurance companies are now covering at-home test kits, too.
Plus, President Joe Biden announced 400 million N95 masks will be available for free at local pharmacies and health centers in early February.
Here's what you need to know about insurance coverage for at-home test kits.
As of January 15, if you have private health insurance, you will be covered for up to 8, FDA-approved, at-home COVID-19 tests per month, per covered family member.
"Number one, your reimbursement rate may be limited to $12," explained Alicia Pierce with the Texas Association of Health Plans. "Secondly, that you need to keep a proof of purchase. You need to keep the receipts, and you may even need to keep the box as well."
Remember you may only be covered up to $12 per test, such as a BinaxNow box of two tests for $23.99. But if you pay more than $12 per test, you may have to make up the difference.
TAHP says some insurance companies will reimburse you, but most are working to provide the tests for you.
"It could be you’re going through a mail-order system. It could be you're going to an in-network pharmacy," said Pierce.
This coverage does not include Medicare members. They are directed to request free tests from the federal government, community health centers, or Medicare-certified health clinics. However, those with Medicare Advantage should check with their plan to see if they're covered.
Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program are required to cover the tests without cost-sharing. Those members can get them from Medicaid-enrolled pharmacies.
"Under Medicaid, the rules do stipulate that you are able to get four tests per month," said Pierce. "So you’ll need to talk to your medical plan on how they’re implementing that."
And remember that health insurance also still covers diagnostic COVID-19 testing at heath centers at no cost to you. Before ordering or buying home test kits, watch out for fake websites and test scams.
Covidtests.gov is the official federal government site to order free COVID-19 test kits.
Click here for a list of FDA-approved home COVID test kits.