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CVS, Walgreens drop limit on customer purchases of home COVID-19 tests

MoneyWatch: Insurance for at-home COVID tests
MoneyWatch: Privately insured Americans no longer have to pay for at-home COVID-19 tests 03:22

Pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens have removed limits on how many over-the-counter rapid COVID-19 tests customers can purchase at once.

CVS had previously limited customers to buying six home virus tests each in an effort to keep the kits in stock as the Omicron variant was spreading around the U.S., driving demand for the screening tools. CVS said it has since increased its supply of COVID-19 tests, allowing the company to drop purchase restrictions. 

"We've worked with our vendors to increase inventory of OTC COVID-19 tests and have removed all product limits on those products at CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide and on," a CVS Pharmacy spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. 

CVS currently has six different rapid COVID-19 test products in stock. 

Biden administration provides masks and at-home tests to combat Omicron 05:03

Until Thursday, Walgreens had limited customers to a maximum of four tests in stores or online. Customers may now purchase as many rapid COVID-19 tests as they want from the retailer, a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. 

The tests were particularly hard to come by around the holidays, when individuals prepared to travel and gather with their families just as cases from the highly contagious Omicron variant were surging.

Test now covered by insurers

As of mid-January, under a Biden administration rule private insurers are required to cover the cost of eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month, per covered member.

Some insurers have partnered with retailers like CVS to make the tests available for free at the point of purchase. Under other plans, individuals must save their receipts and submit them for reimbursement. 

"Particularly, in the early stages of this program, we strongly encourage customers to save their receipt(s) as they may need to submit them to their insurer," the CVS spokesman said. 

Only tests that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration are covered and eligible for reimbursement. Consumers can cross-check the name of the test they intend to purchase against the FDA's list of authorized kits, found here.

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