Payer advocates react to Biden at-home COVID-19 test coverage rule

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Payer representatives are both praising President Joe Biden's sweeping new at-home COVID-19 test coverage policy and raising concerns over its implementation and impacts. 

Here are how three payer representatives reacted:

America's Health Insurance Plans

Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said that despite anticipating "hiccups" early in the rule's rollout, payers will quickly implement coverage, according to a Jan. 10 news release.

"From the beginning, health insurance providers have taken decisive action to cover the costs of tests to diagnose and treat COVID-19 – and we continue to do so," Mr. Eyles said. "We learned a great deal through that commitment and other key actions on COVID-19, and we recognize that the administration's guidance takes steps to mitigate the real risks of price gouging, fraud, and abuse, which would limit access and reduce affordability for everyone."

Mr. Eyles conceded, however, that Americans "cannot test our way out of this pandemic," and encouraged continued efforts to expand vaccination. 

Alliance of Community Health Plans

Ceci Connolly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health plans said the guidance does not address "enormous barriers" that payers and members face, including "significant shipping delays, sold-out pharmacies and retailers, and the early signs of price-gouging," according to a news release shared with Becker's

"We appreciate our ongoing, constructive conversations with the administration regarding test accessibility and our shared goals to protect the American public," Ms. Connolly said. "However, the lack of a coordinated national testing strategy two years into this public health emergency leaves too many communities without the resources necessary to mitigate this virus."

Ms. Connolly encouraged the administration to consider alternative actions to improve at-home testing, as the current plan "misses the mark."

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Kim Keck, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, applauded President Biden's guidelines, but raised concerns over supply shortages, according to a Jan. 10 news release.

"We are concerned that the policy does not solve the limited supply of tests in the country and could cause additional consumer friction as insurers stand up a program in just four days' time," Ms. Keck said. "We will continue to partner with the administration and retailers to help make this work and advocate for policies that promote affordable and equitable access."

 

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