People all across the country keep hearing about how important it is to test at home for COVID frequently. But trying to find a rapid at-home test in a retailer that makes frequent COVID testing in Dallas, TX, affordable is challenging. Nevertheless, masking and testing are essential measures if our nation hopes to beat COVID and get the economy running efficiently or restore our regular routines. Our federal government intends to require insurance companies to pay for tests so we can get them cheaper. On January 10th, the Biden Administration announced that private insurance carriers could receive eight rapid tests monthly covered by their insurance. Americans can either buy them from the store and have them reimbursed through their insurance company or receive one with no out-of-pocket expense from retail pharmacies included in their insurance network. In addition, insurers have been urged to cover PCR tests, the administration of vaccines, and COVID treatments.
The easy answer to this question is no. Every Economist will tell you that not many things come for free, and someone must pay the cost. Insurance companies incur the cost initially, footing the bill for expenses that could exceed billions of dollars. The exact cost that insurance companies will pay will depend on how many people get reimbursed and how easy the tests are to get.
If insurance companies act as they always have, they will eventually pass these additional costs on to consumers. As a result, the extra cost of covering the coronavirus tests will cause premiums to rise.
Insurance companies had the opportunity to increase premiums last year, but for the most part, they did not. This is likely because they have made incredible profits during the pandemic and saw no need to pass costs on to the insurer. In 2020 alone, insurance profits were increased by 41%. These increased profits are likely due to people staying home, having fewer accidents, postponing surgeries, and avoiding hospital visits or doctor visits. Insurance companies rebated some of these profits back to customers, but most stayed in insurers' pockets. Insurers will begin reporting 2021 results soon, and as they work on predictions for 2023, they could raise premiums if they expect more expenses and claims. The cost of millions of rapid tests will likely be included in their calculations.
If your insurer does not have an agreement with a retailer you can visit to get your free test, this is a possibility. However, you will be required to pay for them at a price set by the store and fill out a reimbursement request from your insurer. It is common for Americans to neglect to mail-in rebates for things or lose receipts. In addition, insurance reimbursement is set at 12 dollars a test. So, if you pay $25 for a test, and this is pretty common, your insurer is only required to pay back $12, so you incur the additional costs.
Free test kits are available at community centers for Medicaid patients, but people whohave Medicare will be required to cover the costs of tests on their own. A few free tests are available to every American out household through the US Postal Service. A website has been activated by the Biden Administration, allowing Americans to order their free household tests from a group of 1 billion ordered by the federal government.
Free at-home covid tests are unlikely to impact availability and cost immediately. Finding them will still require searching. In addition, these tests may become more difficult to find because federal rules will create additional demand. But, government guarantees to test manufacturers may cause them to produce tests faster. The increased supply and competition could cause prices to decrease. There is room for a price decline, considering the wholesale cost of an at-home test is between $5 and $7. The government's move for free COVID testing in Dallas, TX, is a step in the right direction.