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Medicare to pay for OTC COVID-19 tests

Medicare to pay for OTC COVID-19 tests

WASHINGTON – Medicare will cover the cost of OTC COVID-19 tests for beneficiaries with either original Medicare or Medicare Advantage starting early this spring.  

Under the initiative, which is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to expand access to testing, Medicare beneficiaries may access up to eight OTC COVID-19 tests per month for free. Tests approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be available through eligible pharmacies and other participating entities. 

Until then, beneficiaries can access free tests by: 

  • Requesting four free over-the-counter tests for home delivery at 
  • Accessing COVID-19 tests through health care providers at over 20,000 free testing sites nationwide. A list of community-based testing sites can be found here. 
  • Accessing lab-based PCR tests and antigen tests performed by a laboratory when the test is ordered by a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist or other authorized health care professional at no cost. Beneficiaries can also access one lab-performed test without an order and without cost sharing during the public health emergency. 

In addition, the administration says Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage and payment for OTC COVID-19 tests as a supplemental benefit in addition to covering Medicare Part A and Part B benefits.   

For more information:


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