Close Close

Life Health > Health Insurance > Medicare Planning

Blues Worry About Home COVID-19 Test Kit Shortages

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

What You Need to Know

  • Insurers will have to pay for eight home COVID-19 test kits per enrolllee per month.
  • The Blues agree that people need easy access to tests.
  • For the Blues, one concern is getting the mandate rules just a few days before it takes effect.

The head of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association says its member insurers need more home COVID-19 test kits to make the new national test kit access policy work.

Kim Keck, the Chicago-based association’s CEO, said in a statement Monday that the association agrees that, in the COVID-19 public health crisis, Americans need access to COVID-19 tests.

The Blues appreciate the efforts of the administration of President Joe Biden to protect patients and insurers against test kit price-gouging and abuse, Keck said.

“That being said, we are concerned that the policy does not solve for the limited supply of tests in the country,” Keck said.

Officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Employee Benefits Security Administration said Monday, through a press release and informal batches of guidance, that every health insurer and group health plan will have to cover eight tests per enrollee per month, starting Jan. 15.

The maximum price coverage providers will have to pay for kits from out-of-network suppliers is $12.

Administration officials are hoping that coverage providers will work out ways to distribute the kits to enrollees with no out-of-pocket cost through in-network pharmacies and other in-network providers.

In addition to the concern about the supply of test kits, another concern is the challenge of having to set up a new program by Jan. 15 after learning about how the program will work Jan. 10, Keck said.

In spite of those concerns, “we will continue to partner with the administration and retailers to help make this work and advocate for policies that promote affordable and equitable access,” Keck said.


Kim Keck (Photo: Blue Cross Blue Shield Association)