According to an Associated Press (AP) report on Monday, President Joe Biden’s administration will require United States insurers to cover at-home tests for COVID-19 beginning on January 15.
The AP report also said that the new requirement will require up to eight tests per month for each individual, meaning a family of four would qualify to receive 32 tests each month, covered by their carrier.
The new Biden policy will allow Americans to either acquire free testing kits through their insurers, or present receipts for tests to their insurers for reimbursement.
In a statement on Monday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost. By requiring private health plans to cover people’s at-home tests, we are further expanding Americans’ ability to get tests for free when they need them.”
The Biden Administration has been criticized for the nationwide shortage of testing kits for the Omicron COVID-19 variant. The variant has caused a surge in cases where people want and need the testing kits across the country.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked by numerous reporters’ why the administration has taken so long to ramp up testing during a Monday briefing.
Psaki answered, “There has been a massive surge in cases, there has been an unprecedented demand for test. So, what we have done over the course of the last few weeks, even before that, is the president quadrupled our testing capacity since this summer, we opened 20,000 sites across the country, and we have also opened additional federal sites, including one in D.C. only recently.”
Psaki continued, “If you look to a year ago, there were no tests, or maybe one depending on the timeline, that was available on the market. Now we have nine. If you look to about a year ago, there was about 900,000 or maybe slightly higher tests that were being issued every day. Now we’re at about 10 or 11 million. 300 million tests are done in this country every month. So, there’s enormous progress being made.”
President Biden admitted on December 28 that there is “clearly not enough” COVID-19 testing available in the United States. Residents in states across the country have resorted to waiting in hours-long line to acquire tests.
Biden said, “We went from no over-the counter tests in January to 36 million in October, 100 million in November and almost 200 million in December. But it’s not enough. It’s clearly not enough.” “If I had — we had known, we would have gone harder, quicker if we could have,” he added.