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Rapid COVID-19 Tests Will Soon Be Covered by Insurance

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December 2, 2021 – Private insurers will soon be required to reimburse people enrolled in their plans for the cost of rapid home-based COVID-19 tests, and mask terms will be extended for air, rail and bus travelers of at least mid- March.

The measures are part of a series of new actions President Joe Biden is expected to announce later today following the arrival of the Omicron variant in the United States. The White House initiatives are designed to tackle an expected winter wave of COVID-19 infections, according to sources familiar with the president’s plans.

At around $ 24 per package, rapid COVID-19 testing remains prohibitive for many, even after promising to bring the tests to Americans at a wholesale price.

Other countries have rapid tests available for free or around $ 1 per test, and many experts say more frequent use of rapid tests could help stop transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

About 150 million Americans would be eligible for reimbursement for rapid tests through their insurance plans.

In addition to these steps, international travelers to the United States will soon be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure, whether or not they are vaccinated.

In line with the six-part COVID-19 plan presented by the administration in August, the president’s new plan centers on vaccinations for all eligible Americans, including booster doses for the 100 million adults estimated who are now at least 6 months after their second doses of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 months after a Johnson & Johnson injection.

These plans, which were based on vaccination mandates for most workers, have been hampered by recent court rulings blocking implementation of these demands.

As the issue winds its way through the courts, Biden is expected to call on companies to voluntarily implement vaccination requirements for their workers, which he says helps close the vaccination gap.

Biden is also expected to present a new push to get booster shots for all adults on Thursday, with a focus on the elderly, who are at the greatest risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

The president is scheduled to speak at 1:40 p.m. at the National Institutes of Health.

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