On Monday, the Biden administration announced the new plan in regard to free at-home Covid tests and Covid test reimbursements. Americans with private health insurance can get over-the-counter Covid tests covered by their insurance starting this Saturday.

Last month, the White House committed to send 500 million at-home Covid tests to all Americans for free. Yesterday, it was announced that contracts for the first two batches of tests—13.3 million kits total—to be distributed in an effort to help with the massive testing shortage nationwide.

Later this month, the federal government will launch a website where Americans can request at-home Covid tests to be sent via mail. Additional emergency rapid-testing sites will be created in areas experiencing the greatest surges in cases.

Who qualifies for a Covid test reimbursement?

If you are one of the 150 million Americans with private health insurance, you should be eligible for reimbursement after you buy an at-home Covid test. This reimbursement includes people insured by their employer, as well as those who are covered under the Affordable Care Act.

For people whose health care providers have ordered a COVID-19 test, the Biden administration says there is no limit on the number of tests that are covered, including at-home tests.

Currently, state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs must cover FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests without cost-sharing. For now, Medicare is not included in the reimbursement program, but Medicare Advantage may be covered—check your plan for more details.

How to get a Covid test reimbursement

Beginning this Saturday, Jan. 15, insurance companies and health plans will be required to cover eight free over-the-counter at-home tests per covered individual per month, according to White House officials.

This means a family of four who are all covered under the same health insurance plan will be able to get up to 32 tests covered per month.

Here are some tips for consumers looking to be reimbursed.

  • Keep your receipt after purchasing an at-home Covid test. Printed receipts from online purchases work, too.
  • Fill out a reimbursement form with your insurance company—depending on your health insurance company, this may be a paper form or an online form.
  • Only tests purchased on or after Jan. 15 are required to be reimbursed.

Additional reimbursement information

As part of the Biden administration's new plan, insurers and group health plans will be incentivized to set up programs that allow people to get over-the-counter tests directly through preferred pharmacies, retailers or other entities with no out-of-pocket costs. 

"Insurers and plans would cover the costs upfront, eliminating the need for consumers to submit a claim for reimbursement," the White House said in a news release. "When plans and insurers make tests available for upfront coverage through preferred pharmacies or retailers, they are still required to reimburse tests purchased by consumers outside of that network, at a rate of up to $12 per individual test (or the cost of the test, if less than $12)."

For example, if your plan offers direct coverage through their preferred pharmacy but you buy your tests online instead, your insurance company still has to reimburse you up to $12 per individual test.

“Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as to quickly diagnose COVID-19 so that it can be effectively treated," said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in Monday's release. "Today’s action further removes financial barriers and expands access to COVID-19 tests for millions of people."

For any additional questions or concerns, check with your health insurance company.