President Joe Biden’s administration will require U.S. insurers to cover at-home tests for COVID-19 beginning Saturday, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The new policy requires insurers to cover up to eight tests per month for each individual, meaning a family of four would qualify to reimburse 32 tests each month, the AP reported. The policy allows Americans to either acquire free testing kits through their insurers, or present receipts for tests to their insurers for reimbursement. (RELATED: Journalist Who Works For MSNBC, The Independent Likens Biden’s COVID-19 Approach To Eugenics)
“This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a Monday statement. “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 faced criticism for a nationwide shortage in testing as the Omicron COVID-19 variant has caused a surge in cases across the country. Reporters questioned White House press secretary Jen Psaki on why the administration has taken so long to ramp up testing during a Monday briefing.
“There has been a massive surge in cases … there has been an unprecedented demand for tests. 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 said.
“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.”
Biden himself admitted Dec. 28 that there is “clearly not enough” COVID-19 testing available in the U.S. Residents in states across the country have resorted to waiting in hours-long lines to acquire tests.
“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,” Biden said at the time. “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.