Free At-home COVID Tests Covered by Health Insurance and COVIDtests.gov

Friday, February 4, 2022

As of Saturday, January 15, 2022, most people with a health plan can go online or to a pharmacy or store to purchase an at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at no cost, either through reimbursement or free of charge through their insurance. This applies whether you are enrolled in one of Valencia College’s UnitedHealthcare (UHC) plans or have other health insurance coverage outside of Valencia.

The test will either be free directly at the point of sale, if your health plan provides for direct coverage, or by reimbursement if you are charged for your test. Be sure to keep your receipt if you need to submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. If your plan has set up a network of preferred providers at which you can obtain a test with no out-of-pocket expense, you can still obtain tests from other retailers outside that network. Insurance companies are required to reimburse you at a rate of up to $12 per individual test (or the cost of the test, if less than $12).

For employees with Valencia’s UHC plans, coverage will begin for claims submitted with dates of purchase on or after Saturday, January 15, 2022:

  • Members do not need an order from a health care provider or clinical assessment to purchase a home test, but tests must still be primarily for individualized diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.
  • Tests are limited to eight tests per 30 days for each member in the plan. In applying the quantity limit of eight tests, each test may be counted separately, even if multiple tests are in one package.
  • UHC’s initial preferred over-the-counter retailer is Walmart Pharmacy (pending in-stock availability), where members will have no up-front cost and will not have to submit a form for reimbursement.
  • Beginning Wednesday, February 2, 2022, UHC’s preferred online retailer is the Optum Store. Valencia UHC members can obtain COVID-19 at-home diagnostic tests online with $0 member cost share by first signing into their MyUHC.com account, then navigating to the Optum Store link to complete the purchase. For more information, including the steps to access this option, refer to these Optum Store COVID-19 Test Kit FAQs.
  • If you purchase a test at any in-store or online retailer other than the in-store Walmart Pharmacy counter or online through the Optum Store, you may submit your purchase receipt(s) for reimbursement by logging in to your myUHC.com account for a maximum reimbursement of $12 per test. Reimbursement for tests purchased at Walmart.com and the Walmart checkout counters found at the front of the store also must be submitted through your myUHC.com account.

UHC is working to add additional preferred retailers. More information for Valencia’s UHC plans will be provided on this post as additional details become available. For questions, call the member services number on the back of your UHC insurance card.

Order free tests from COVIDtests.gov

Every American household can now order free at-home COVID-19 test kits from the government. To order, visit covidtests.gov. Each household is able to order four tests, which will be shipped free through the U.S. Post Office.

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