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Medicare Recipients Can Avail Up to 8 Free COVID Test Kits

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Negative test result by using rapid test device for COVID-19 | Medicare Recipients Can Avail Up to 8 Free COVID Test Kits | featured

Seeking to fill in gaps in its testing coverage, the federal government now offers Medicare recipients up to 8 COVID home test kits. The White House announced that Americans with Medicare coverage can now avail these COVID test kits easier.

RELATED: Doubts On COVID Vaccine Fueling Bigger Anti-Vax Movement

Medicare to Shoulder Up To 8 COVID Home Test Kits

Coronavirus Covid-19 home testing kit with swab and test tube | Medicare to Shoulder Up To 8 COVID Home Test Kits

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that Medicare will cover up to eight free tests per month. Starting in early spring, Medicare patients can collect their free kits at participating pharmacies and other establishments.

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As long as the Americans opted to participate in Medicare’s “Part B” outpatient benefit, they can collect the kits. About nine in ten Medicare patients signed up for Part B. Also, Americans with Medicare Advantage, a private insurance option covering four in ten recipients, will also receive the kits. 

People with Medicare Advantage, a private insurance option that covers about 4 in 10 Medicare enrollees, will also have access to free COVID-19 tests through their plans, officials said.

Earlier, the administration directed private medical insurers to cover up to eight test kits a month for their beneficiaries. At the time, government officials had no idea what to do about Medicare.

Medicare covers around 60 million Americans, with the majority 65 years old or older. They are also one of the most vulnerable age groups for COVID.

However, arcane laws govern the administration of Medicare benefits. In fact, officials said that this is the first time that Medicare gave recipients free over-the-counter tests.  

New Medicare Policy

Medicare’s looser policy applies to COVID rapid test kits. These provide at-home results to tell whether a patient is COVID positive or otherwise within 15 minutes. Many American families use these rapid test kits to test family members before getting together.

They are also popular for grandparents who wish to see family members after a long time of isolation. Many manufacturers pitch their products to older adults.  

Additionally, Medicare will continue to cover the cost of the more extensive PCR tests. These are the more accurate tests to determine COVID positivity. However, Medicare will only approve purchases when ordered by an authorized health care professional. 

Other Options For Free COVID Test Kits

Medicare enrollees did have other ways to secure free COVID test kits. These avenues will remain open even when Medicare’s new policy goes into effect.

The options include getting four free tests every month when requested through covidtests.gov. They can also pick up free test kits from community centers that distribute them. 

Many households discovered that home test kits were in short supply in stores nationwide as Omicron spread. The recent all-out drive by the government to provide 500 million free test kits helped stem the demand.

However, it has yet to report if the drive managed to reach intended target locations, which includes remote areas. 

Watch the WWLP-22News video reporting that Medicare recipients can now avail of up to 8 free COVID tests:

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