Fail: Getting reimbursed for Covid in-home test kits…

But President Biden promised…
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Flashback to January when Covid was running rampant.

Belatedly (as usual), President Biden announced a 2-pronged “bold” program to get “free” Covid testing kits into the homes of all Americans.

Prong #1: Distribute 500 million testing kits via the USPS.

Prong #2: Require all insurance companies to reimburse for kits purchased at retail.

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We previously posted about #1 — the “free” test kits that Joe was going to send right to my mailbox.

For the gory details, see:

Here comes the USPS … with 500 million free test kits

Hey Joe, Where are my test kits?

Joe says my free test kits are in the mail…

In a nutshell…

At the time time of Joe’s announcement (mid- January), nasty cold & flu symptoms were hitting my family. We wanted to test for Covid but didn’t want to stand in a line with other potentially contagious people.

On the first possible day (Jan.18), I ordered our gov’t supplied test kits … promised delivery in 7 to 10 days.

They finally arrived in mid-February, long after our family symptoms had passed …and as the Covid rampage was starting to wane.

But…

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Being a belt & suspenders kinda guy,  I backstopped Joe’s mail program with prong #2 and bought some test kits at Costco … expecting, since Joe promised, that I’d be reimbursed by one of my 3 health insurers (Medicare, Blue Cross & Shield, UHC – Rx).

The good news: the Costco supplied test kits arrived in the mail a day or 2 later.

The rest of the program (the reimbursement part) was, as I largely expected, a complete train wreck.

Let me explain…

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To be clear…

In a White House Policy Statement dated January 14, 2022:

“The Administration announced that starting January 15th, private health insurance companies will be required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free.”

There’s no ambiguity there, right?

So, I submitted a receipt-documented online claim to my “Pharmacy Insurer”.

A couple of weeks later, I got a letter indicating that my claim had been denied because In home Covid tests “are an OTC medical procedure, not a prescription drug”.

I was advised to file a claim with my “Medical Insurer”.

No problem, my bad, time to reload.

A couple of weeks later, I got a rejection letter from my Medical Insurer indicating:

Your claim cannot be processed as the claim for this service is part of your pharmacy benefits.

Please submit this claim to your pharmacy insurer.

Uh-oh … the Medical Insurer is pointing to the Pharmacy Insurer … who has already pointed to the Medical Insurer.

I called my Medical Insurer and persisted until I got to a supervisor who informed me that I’m part of the “Georgetown Group” and the “Group Administrator” had issued explicit instructions that in home Covid tests should not be reimbursed by them (the Medical Insurer).

Say, what?

So I sent a “what’s up?” email to the Georgetown plan administrator who advised me:

The Covid test kits are not covered under any of the GU health plans.

For active employees the test kits are covered under their pharmacy plan.

For Medicare eligible retirees the test kits are covered by Medicare.

The program for retirees for coverage and reimbursement was effective April 4, 2022.

Unfortunately Medicare will not cover the cost of the kits if they were purchased prior to April 4.

Since you purchased your test kits on January 20 Medicare will not cover them.

English translation: Medicare — which covers, by definition, one of Covid’s most vulnerable groups — won’t reimburse either.

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Recapping, in other words …

Medicare wasn’t required to reimburse for Covid test kits during the relevant time period:

And, even though “private health insurance companies were required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free” ….

My beloved Georgetown chose to defy a Presidential order by forbidding private insurers from covering one of the most COVID-vulnerable groups in the university’s “community”. 

That’s remarkable given the University’s lock-set support for the Biden Administration … and for its oft-cited adherence to “following the science”.

Bottom line: Pound sand, Kenny.

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For the record …

We’re dealing with a whopping $47.99 … so this isn’t about the money.

It’s about broken promises, an eff-upped Administration,liberal university hypocrisy, and bad business decisions.

On that last points, how cost has been incurred by the insurance companies just to field my calls and  deny this measly claim?

My bet: multiples of the $47.99

C’est la vie.

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P.S. Don’t ever call me Kenny!

One Response to “Fail: Getting reimbursed for Covid in-home test kits…”

  1. Chris Wargo Says:

    If it makes you feel better, my share of health care costs for my 70-employee consulting firm has increased 45%. I can get that down to 38% by switching plans mid-year and frustrating my staff. But at least Covid tests are free…

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