LANSING – The Michigan government is reminding people with health insurance to take advantage of a new federal rule that requires health insurers to cover the cost of eight over-the-counter COVID-19 home tests per month.
“We will continue working with our federal partners to ensure that COVID-19 testing is more accessible and less expensive for every Michigander,” said Governor Whitmer. “Thanks to this new rule, a family of four, for example, can get 32 tests every month, saving them at least $384 every month. This expanded access to tests will lower costs and help limit the spread of COVID-19.”
Under the new rule, starting Jan. 15, private insurers will be required to cover up to eight FDA-approved over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month for each person covered by a health plan. Insurers may, but are not required to, cover tests purchased before Jan. 15.
As insurers work to implement this new coverage, Michiganders are asked to save receipts and boxes for COVID-19 tests purchased beginning on Saturday, Jan. 15 so they can submit them for future reimbursement, saving a family of four at least $384 a month.
Consumers’ out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on how the coverage is provided.
Free COVID-19 testing is not limited to Michiganders with private health insurance, though Medicaid program has a limit of one test per day.
There are two ways to take advantage of the new rule:
- Through a network of preferred pharmacies or retailers: If your insurer establishes a network of preferred pharmacies or retailers, you can get over-the-counter COVID-19 tests with no up-front costs at those locations. If you choose to purchase your tests elsewhere, your insurer is required to reimburse you up to $12 for those tests.
- Through reimbursement: If your insurer does not establish a network of a preferred pharmacies or retailers, you will have to pay up front for your tests, and your insurer will be required to reimburse you for the full purchase price of the covered tests.
- Michigan Medicaid and MIChild: Participants of these programs have coverage for FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests.
- If you do not have insurance: People without insurance can also get tested for free at some community health centers. More information about COVID-19 testing for people without insurance is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
Later this month, all Michiganders will also have access to free at-home tests that will be sent directly to them upon request in the mail by the federal government. More information on this new federal program, including a website for making test requests, is expected soon.
Consumers who have questions that cannot be resolved directly with their insurer can contact DIFS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442.