In light of the difficulty of test scheduling and concerns about costs to consumers, the Biden administration this week announced that the Department of Health and Human Services will require private health insurance and group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home tests purchased by individuals. That requirement will go into place on January 15, 2021.  Those companies and plans will be required to cover eight over-the-counter tests per covered individual per month. So, a family of four on the health plan could get up to 32 tests per month. Additionally, individuals will not need a healthcare provider in order to qualify for the free tests.

Many employers are requiring employees to show proof of a negative test before returning to work. While the insurance coverage cannot cure the supply chain issues that are causing problems with access to testing, we will have to see how this affects the overall strategy of battling the virus. Additionally, although the enforceability of the OSHA ETS vaccine/weekly testing mandate is still up in the air, if we end up with weekly testing this may be an answer as to who pays for that testing.