On December 2, 2021, President Joe Biden made comments announcing the White House plan to fight COVID-19 and the emerging new variant Omicron. As part of the nine-step plan, President Biden announced an initiative that would oblige private health insurers to reimburse insured persons for COVID-19 diagnostic tests at home during the public health emergency. Both employer-financed group health insurance companies and health insurance companies would have to reimburse the tests. For those without private insurance, in addition to the federally supported free test sites, home tests would be distributed through community sites such as health centers and rural clinics.
Aside from the president’s remarks, the Biden administration has not put in place any set guidelines, although the U.S. Department of Health, Labor, and Treasury are expected to have announced on or before the 15th, 2022. Health insurance spokesmen they are waiting for such implementation guidance from the administration and have indicated that several issues need to be taken into account during the guidance process. In addition, the White House’s reference to “individuals” suggests that the initiative intends to target employees and their spouses and loved ones as part of a plan.
President Biden’s announcement comes as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS) continues its litigation in court and many employers continue to prepare for ETS compliance.
Â© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, all rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 345