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Private Insurance Now Covers At-Home COVID-19 Testing

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Starting Saturday at-home COVID-19 tests will be covered by health insurance, but with supply issues, it might not be possible to get one right away.

On Jan. 19 COVID-19 tests can be ordered online for free.

The fast-spreading Omicron variant has created an extraordinary demand for COVID-19 testing, but people are struggling to find the tests they need. That's why, on Wednesday, the federal government is launching a website where people can order free rapid tests, and the White House says each household will be able to order up to four tests.

Beginning Saturday, people can get at-home COVID tests through their private insurance. This means people with private health insurance will be reimbursed for the total cost of their COVID-19 tests. This includes tests bought at pharmacies, retail stores, or online vendors. Just be sure to save your receipts.

Private health insurers are now required to cover eight home tests per month for each of their members.

Insurers are only required to cover kits purchased after Saturday, Jan. 15, so you might not have any luck filing a claim for tests you've bought in the past.

As for ordering online, users will have to provide their names and addresses to get their tests. The test will ship within seven to 12 days of ordering them.

President Joe Biden also announced this week that the government will be shipping high-quality masks to Americans for free.

''I know we all wish that we could finally be done with wearing masks. I get it. But they're a really important tool to stop the spread," he said.

The White House will also set up a hotline for those who cannot order online but have not yet announced a launch date for it.

CBS 2 reached out to the Illinois Department of Public Health about the announcement and they said they haven't formulated a plan to distribute at-home COVID tests through the Biden Administration.


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