MDH issues guidelines as insurance coverage requirement for home COVID tests takes effect

Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provided additional guidelines now that an insurance coverage requirement for home COVID-19 tests is in effect.

As of Saturday, private health insurers are now required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans.

The Biden administration announced the change as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient.

To help Minnesotans obtain their tests, MDH issued the following guidelines about what is covered via the new policy:

  • Coverage is for over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests authorized, cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Up to $12 (or actual cost, if less than $12) per test and up to eight tests per person, per month, is covered.
  • Coverage applies to private insurers or group health plans (for example, for self-insured employers.) Coverage also applies to MNsure private health plans for individuals.
  • MDH reports different guidelines apply to Medicare and Medicaid public health plans. Additional information can be found via this Frequently Asked Questions resource from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

MDH suggests the following to confirm how test costs are covered:

  • Check with your individual health plan first, prior to purchasing at-home tests, in order to ensure you’re following the correct steps to have your test costs covered. Most health insurance cards have health plan contact information on the back.
  • Rather than seeking reimbursement for tests, check with your health plan provider about direct coverage options.
  • If you pay for a test out of pocket, check with your health plan provider on the reimbursement process. You may need to submit a receipt.

Meanwhile, MDH reports there are continued options for free COVID-19 testing in the state:

  • Free tests are available at state-operated testing sites.
  • Free tests can also be scheduled by confirming with your local clinic or pharmacist.

The U.S. government’s website is also now active, allowing each home to order up to four free, at-home COVID-19 tests online. Orders will ship in seven to 12 days.