Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is announcing that 3.7 million New Yorkers enrolled in Medicare will have rapid COVID-19 tests covered through their insurance. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced that people in either Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage will be able to get up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month at no cost and without need for reimbursement. This announcement follows a successful push from Gillibrand and her colleagues urging the Biden administration to require Medicare to cover this cost for beneficiaries. Now, an additional 61 million Americans enrolled in Medicare and Medicare Advantage and 3.7 million New Yorkers, including those at highest risk of severe illness, have equal access to testing amidst a surge in Omicron cases and hospitalizations across the country. Until benefits start this spring, people with Medicare can access free tests through a number of channels, including requesting free over-the-counter tests for home delivery at covidtests.gov.
“This announcement is great news for the nearly 4 million New Yorkers enrolled in Medicare who are set to be covered for rapid COVID-19 tests,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As cities and towns across the state continue grappling with the impacts of this pandemic, it’s vital that everyone has free and easy access to testing – not just those with private insurance. Today, we are one step closer to reaching this goal and I am thrilled the Biden administration has expanded its guidance to require Medicare to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID tests for all beneficiaries.”
In addition to Senator Gillibrand, the January letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Brooks-LaSure was also signed by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
As chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, Gillibrand is also pushing to expand TRICARE coverage of at-home COVID-19 tests for service members and their families. Currently, TRICARE beneficiaries can only receive coverage for at-home tests if they have an order or referral from a TRICARE-authorized provider.