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Biden administration to require insurers to cover COVID-19 home tests

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Biden administration to require insurers to cover COVID-19 home tests

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The Biden administration plans to force private health insurance providers to reimburse people for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests in order to make these home kits free.

The federal departments of Health, Labor and the Treasury will issue the guidelines to insurers by Jan.15, according to senior administration officials in a press call Wednesday evening.

More than 150 million people in the United States have private health insurance and will be able to be reimbursed for the cost of home tests. It remains to be determined how many tests and how often will be covered by insurers under this new directive.

For those without private insurance, the administration plans to distribute millions of free tests to community health sites, including rural clinics. There are currently over 20,000 free test sites across the country that anyone can access.

The reimbursement guidelines aim to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 as new omicron variant spreads. Omicron has been named as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

The first case of the omicron variant in the United States was reported Wednesday in San Francisco. The variant, which was first detected by scientists in South Africa, has also found in over 20 other countries until there.

Researchers still have to determine whether the new variant is more contagious than previous variants of the virus, such as the delta.

During Wednesday’s press appeal, Biden administration officials echoed President Joe Biden’s statement on Monday that “while this new variant is cause for concern, it is not a cause panic, “adding that the country has” the tools we need to deal with this variant. ”

Even though there is still a lot of things unknown about omicron, vaccines remain the most effective barrier against severe cases of COVID-19 and the spread of the virus, providing those vaccinated with strong protection against hospitalization or death.

Abbott and Quidel’s COVID-19 home tests are part of kits sold over the counter in pharmacies.

In Wednesday’s call, the Biden administration also announced new requirements for all international travelers entering the United States, starting next week, to test negative for COVID-19 within one. day after their departure for the United States, compared to the current negative test requirement within three days. . The United States already requires that all foreign travelers to the United States be fully immunized.

In response to the omicron variant, the The United States and other countries announced restrictions when traveling from southern African countries.

Officials in the Biden administration have encouraged fully vaccinated people to receive their boosters, noting that more than 100 million eligible people have yet to receive a booster.

“If you are not vaccinated, to get vaccinatedDr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday.

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