WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid worries that the most up-to-date coronavirus variant could spark a further rise in cases, Medicare introduced Monday that millions of enrollees will finally have accessibility to no cost in excess of-the-counter COVID-19 exams at drug retailers.
Extra than 59 million folks with Medicare’s “Part B” outpatient coverage will be in a position to get up to 8 free at-home assessments for each thirty day period, or sufficient for an specific to check 2 times a week, as some doctors have suggested.
Medicare has lagged non-public insurance in adhering to the Biden administration’s directive to address at-house exams due to the fact regulations and restrictions stood in the way, and officers experienced to uncover a get the job done-around. This is the 1st time the health insurance coverage method for older persons and these with disabilities has protected an above-the-counter exam at no price tag to recipients.
Medicare’s move could change out to be prescient.
The BA.2 omicron variant now accounts for a lot more than half of U.S. circumstances, having speedily overtaken the original strain. That initial omicron wave this winter caused the greatest spike nevertheless in virus instances, straining quite a few hospitals to the limit. Considering that then, cases nationally have quickly dropped to the lowest amount due to the fact just before past summer’s delta surge. Coronavirus limits have been largely lifted. But some regions the place BA.2 took keep early are observing escalating scenarios.
Monday’s announcement followed a further precautionary transfer very last week, when authorities well being officers licensed a next spherical of booster photographs for men and women 50 and more mature as effectively as those with weakened immune techniques.
National pharmacy chains taking part in Medicare’s give-absent include: Albertsons Corporations, Inc., Costco Pharmacy, CVS, Foodstuff Lion, Giant Food, The Large Organization, Hannaford Pharmacies, H-E-B Pharmacy, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Kroger Household of Pharmacies, Ceremony Assist Corp., Store & Cease, Walgreens and Walmart.
Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar , The Related Push