Medicare covers free
at-home COVID-19 tests

Medicare covers free at-home COVID-19 tests

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide access to COVID-19 testing for Medicare members. Members are eligible for free at-home COVID-19 tests through their Medicare plan.

Why it matters

The cost of at-home tests can add up quickly. Price varies by retailer, but most tests range from $20 to $30 for a pack of two. Through this initiative, Medicare members can save money since Medicare Part B covers the cost through participating pharmacies or providers.

How it works

Medicare will cover up to eight at-home tests per calendar month for members who have Original Medicare or Medicare Part B. There's no upfront payment or reimbursement required; members get the tests for free at point of sale when they visit a participating pharmacy.

Which tests qualify

There are two major types of FDA-approved COVID-19 tests:

  • PCR tests, also known as molecular tests, detect viral genetic material in fluid from a nasal swab, throat swab, or saliva.
  • Rapid antigen tests, also known as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests, detect viral proteins in fluid from a nasal swab.

As of right now, Medicare will cover FDA-authorized over-the-counter tests for at-home use. Rapid tests are safe, easy to use, and provide results within minutes.

How to order tests

Members can order tests in person or over the phone from participating pharmacies. Visit medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus for a list of some of the organizations participating in the COVID-19 over-the-counter test initiative for members with Medicare Part B.

Let Highmark help with finding your Medicare plan

Schedule a personal consultation with a Highmark Medicare advisor or call 866-320-8359 , 7 days a week, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (ET), (TTY users call 711)

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Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company, and Highmark Senior Solutions Company are Medicare Advantage plans with a Medicare contract. HM Health Insurance Company is a PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health Company, Highmark Senior Solutions Company, and HM Health Insurance Company depends on contract renewal.

Health benefits or health benefit administration may be provided by or through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Senior Health  Company, Highmark Senior Solutions Company, or Highmark Health Insurance Company, all of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  All references to “Highmark” in this document are references to the Highmark company that is providing the member’s health benefits or health benefit administration.

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