“This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests free of charge,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
Up to eight tests a month
Under the initiative, Medicare enrollees can receive up to eight home tests a month at no cost from participating pharmacies and providers, which Medicare will reimburse directly.
Those in Medicare Advantage plans may need to show their federal Medicare cards to receive the free tests, which are being covered by Medicare Part B, not health insurers. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover Covid-19 tests as a separate benefit.
National pharmacy chains that are participating include: Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Food Lion, Giant Food, Hannaford, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Rite Aid, Shop & Stop, Walgreens and Walmart.
Enrollees can also check with their local pharmacies or providers to see if they are participating or call 1-800-MEDICARE to find locations.
The coverage will last until the public health emergency ends. It is currently set to expire in mid-April but is expected to be renewed for at least another three months.
Other testing options
They also have access to no-cost tests through health care providers at more than 20,000 testing sites.
And Medicare enrollees can get tests performed at a laboratory at no charge when ordered by a doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider.