Medicare beneficiaries have eight COVID-19 tests at home free of charge per month as part of a program that has been in effect since last month (April 2022)
As part of a program enacted last month (April 2022), Medicare beneficiaries have been offered eight FREE COVID-19 tests at home each month as part of a free health screening program. To help Medicare beneficiaries receive the medical care they need, CMS has introduced the COVID-19 program.
With COVID, patients can get diagnostic tests delivered to their homes instead of visiting their doctors’ offices or hospitals for each test, enabling them to control their health care decisions.
Persons eligible for Part B Medicare coverage (including those who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program) are eligible as long as there is a public health emergency
Covid is considered a public health emergency by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What Is Medicare Part B?
It is a voluntary supplemental health insurance policy that pays for medically necessary services and supplies not covered by Medicare Part A. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 years of age or older, certain disabled people, and people with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).
Medicare Part B is sometimes called “secondary” because it covers only costs not paid for by the primary coverage (Medicare Parts A).
Medicare Part B helps pay for:
- Care provided outside the hospital setting (including doctor’s visits, outpatient hospital care, and some home health care services)
- The purchase of medical equipment and supplies (such as blood glucose monitors and artificial limbs)
- Blood tests and X-rays are examples of laboratory tests (such as blood tests and X-rays)
- Consultations with physicians and related services, such as physical examinations, office visits, and treatment by specialists (such as surgeons)
- Hospital services that are provided on an outpatient basis
- If you need surgery or treatment at a skilled nursing facility, then you have access to inpatient hospital services
- Flu shots, mammograms, pap smears, and other cancer screenings are some of the preventive services offered by the health department
- Home health care services are available in some cases
- You can get durable medical equipment that will help you remain active or independent at home (such as wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen equipment)
- As of today, Medicare Part B also covers eight Covid home tests per month under Medicare
What Is a Public Health Emergency Defined By the CDC?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for protecting Americans from public health threats. There are times when the national security and safety of the American people are threatened, and the president or the secretary of health and human services can declare a public health emergency.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a public health emergency as an event or situation that threatens or may threaten public health. Such emergencies can be caused by infectious diseases, bioterrorism, mass casualty events, and other threats to public health.
Public health authorities must take immediate action when an unusual event occurs in a community and disrupts routine life. The event may be characterized by widespread fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. An earthquake, flood, or terrorist attack can be natural or man-made. If public health authorities determine the risk of international spread, they may activate response systems.
How to obtain tests if you are covered by Medicare Part B
A pharmacy that participates in the program will be able to assist with the free, over-the-counter tests. After the pharmacist receives the test results, Medicare will be billed for the test once it has been obtained.
Participating pharmacies include:
- Food Lion
- Hy-Vee Pharmacy
- Kroger Pharmacy
- Stop and Shop Pharmacy
- Walmart Pharmacy
If you have a question regarding whether or not your pharmacy is participating but not listed, please call 1.800.633.4222. Also, if you are in need of taking a COVID-19 test, you can easily find and purchase one of several COVID-19 tests online as well, however, you may need to check if these will be covered by your Medicare insurance plan too.
In April 2022, the Medicare program launched its free testing program. The program does not cover reimbursement for test kits purchased before April 4 if you could buy any at-home test kits before that date. A physician can also order COVID-19 lab testing on behalf of Medicare-insured individuals, provided a physician order them.
As the omicronBA.2 subvariant continue to spread nationwide, and COVID infection rates are higher. See this COVID map for the current country, state, or county rates.
As a few examples:
- Connecticut, as of 5/10, is 13%
- Michigan, as of 5/10, is 15%
- California, as of 5/10, is 3.75%
Nationwide rates as of 5/10 are 8.5%
If You Don’t Have Medicare Part B
At present, Coronavirus poses the most significant risk to the people living in 35 counties in the United States. Even though hospitalizations are trending upward, it is essential to note that death rates have remained low as of May 1.
These free monthly at-home test kits are not available to people who do not have Medicare. Even though this is the case, they can still take advantage of the federal program, which offers two sets of home COVID-19 tests. You can also call 1.800.232.0233.
Insurance Reimbursement for At-Home COVID-19 Tests
There is a possibility that if you have health insurance through your employer or the Marketplace, you will be reimbursed by your insurance for eight at-home blood tests per month for each of the people on your policy.
Community-based testing sites are available at HHS.gov. A great deal of health and COVID-related information is available on HHS.gov if you are looking for additional statistics and news.