The Biden administration declared Monday that private insurances would be required to pay for at-home COVID-19 quick tests. Tomorrow will be the effective date of this mandate. Although it was criticized because of its potential to cause shortages and increase costs, the mandate is still in effect. However, insurers for health are facing another problem. They don’t know what to do with this new rule.
According to New York TimesSarah Kliff reports that health insurance companies are having trouble implementing this new rule. While health insurance systems can be used to bill for specific procedures or services, they cannot reimburse consumers. Kliff reports that most insurance companies can only offer customers the following advice: Save your receipts and keep the test boxes, in order to get reimbursed at a future date. One insurance agent described it as “Some people will buy them and then have six months of nightmares trying to get reimbursed.”
Some insurance companies claim that they will need to wait weeks for their complete readiness.
This is a clear indication of how disorganized the rule was created by the insurers. Biden Administration proposes a solution with no clear implementation plan. Easy access to rapid testing is essential for ending the COVID-19 outbreak. This is as true today as it was over a year ago, as Americans waited for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finally approve a rapid test for at-home use—an approval that finally came more than eight months into the pandemic, yet still required people to get a prescription.
FDA approval is the main barrier to readily accessible rapid tests being available on supermarket shelves. Plenty of tests—including some made by American companies!—are available in Europe, but remain unavailable to Americans because of the slow pace of bureaucracy. Biden’s efforts to catch up have repeatedly failed. There is a simple solution: Let go of FDA approvals and get out of the way.