As COVID cases continue to surge across the U.S., President Joe Biden said Tuesday that insurance companies will soon be required to reimburse you for at-home COVID-19 tests.
This will reportedly start as early as next week, Biden said.
Details on how this process will work were not immediately given, but the President said, "If you're insured, you can buy the test and get paid for it."
In the same announcement, Biden also said the federal government will be launching a website this month where you can get an at-home COVID test shipped to your home for free.
The U.S. has set new records for daily reported COVID-19 cases and Biden is facing new pressure to ease a nationwide testing shortage, as people seek to determine if they or their family members have been infected with the variant.
Long lines and chaotic scenes over the holidays have marred the administration's image as having the pandemic in hand.
“On testing, I know this remains frustrating. Believe me, it's frustrating to me, but we're making improvements,” Biden said.
In a Monday letter, GOP Sens. Richard Burr and Roy Blunt, the top Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, pressed the Department of Health and Human Services for answers on how the administration was working to address nationwide testing shortages.
“With over $82.6 billion specifically appropriated for testing, and flexibility within the department to allocate additional funds from COVID-19 supplemental bills or annual appropriations if necessary, it is unclear to us why we are facing such dire circumstances now," they wrote. “It does not appear to be because of lack of funding, but a more fundamental lack of strategy and a failure to anticipate future testing needs by the administration.”
White House officials have noted that the spike in testing demand is driven not just by omicron, but by people seeking to travel safely during the holidays and return to school after and that the shortages are global in nature.
“Turns out, Omicron is driving a spike in demand for testing...everywhere,” tweeted Ben Wakana, the deputy director of strategic communications & engagement for the White House's COVID-19 response team, highlighting similar shortages in the U.K., Canada, and Australia.