People enrolled in the Medicare program will be able to get free over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid tests starting in early spring, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Thursday.
It will be the first time Medicare covers an over-the-counter test for enrollees, the Biden administration said. Medicare enrollees will be able to pick up the free tests while Medicare will pay pharmacies and other retailers the agency allows to distribute the tests.
The agency will pay for eight tests per month per recipient.
Last month, the Biden administration laid out plans to require private insurance companies to cover the cost of eight over-the-counter at-home tests per person per month, but the plan did not include paying for tests for those who are enrolled in Medicare.
Medicare, a federal government-backed health insurance program, covers around 61 million U.S. citizens who are over age 65, or who are younger than 65 but are disabled.
If Medicare recipients do not want to wait to get their tests, they can order tests through the new government-run website, CovidTests.gov.
Those tests will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.