New federal COVID-19 testing efforts announced

Dec. 2, 2021

A new federal government plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic includes initiatives to expand access to testing, according to a White House fact sheet.

Specifically, the government will:

  • Require private health insurance to cover rapid over-the counter (OTC) at-home tests for the more than 150 million Americans with private insurance. The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury will issue guidance by January 15th to clarify the rules by which people can purchase OTC COVID-19 diagnostic tests and seek reimbursement from private health insurances carriers. Those insurers already cover tests administered in physician offices, pharmacies, and clinics with no cost sharing.
  • Distribute at-home tests through key community sites, such as health centers and rural clinics. Those sites already offer free onsite testing.
  • Expand community distribution of free at-home tests through neighborhood sites such as health centers and rural clinics. To ensure equitable access to free at-home tests for uninsured and underserved communities, the government will double the commitment from September to distribute 25 million free tests to community sites to 50 million tests and will add rural clinics to the program.
  • Strengthen global pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.

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