A major concern of mine with US public health action to protect the public has been the utter failure to engage multiple means, including testing, tracing, mask wearing and ventilation, despite having succeeded in vaccinating a majority of people here. I want to call your attention to the issue of testing, especially to note that a key vulnerable population, Medicare recipients, are not covered for FDA authorized self administered at home COVID-19 tests. I urge you to join me in requesting the president, vice president and our congressional representatives and senators require Medicare coverage of at home tests.
In a clear, quick summary (under one minute), this doctor explains the different values of information from antigen and PCR tests, and why we need antigen tests for home use.
Michael Mina, MD, PHD is an epidemiologist, immunologist and pathologist, chief Science Officer with eMed Certified, a technology firm in Boston, MA.
Recently, the Biden Administration Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued instructions for residents with insurance on obtaining an at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost, up to 8 tests per month. There is another plan to sign up January 19 online for tests to be mailed to homes; the Administration is purchasing 500 million to distribute among us, for free.
Those of us covered by original Medicare can expect it will pay only for health care professional authorized tests, not at home tests. Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage, but may involve copays and other restrictions. See the CMS.gov site:
NPR reporter Jonathan Franklin reports “How to get insurance to pay for at-home COVID tests, according to the White House.” “At this time, those who are on Medicare will not be able to get their at-home COVID-19 tests reimbursed through the program, according to the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services." Check out the nuances of physician ordered tests or self administered at home tests:
If we were up to incorporating tracing in our toolkit for engaging the coronavirus, the way other countries do, our major focus would be on the PCR tests, and this is still an important priority. Public health officials have relied on testing sewage to identify the extent of community outbreaks when universal testing is unavailable. As Dr. Mina explains, at home tests offer immediate practical answers to questions of workers and those who are quarantining, isolating when exhibiting symptoms or alerted to contact with someone who has been infected. Residents covered by Medicare deserve no less.
To contact officials, see these links:
use this form to contact President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris
if you don’t know your representative
how to contact your senators
For those who live in Washington congressional district 7, Pramila Jayapal
Washington State: Patty Murray https://www.murray.senate.gov/write-to-patty/
Maria Cantwell https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/email/form
I'm posting a link to this in my Twitter account @odaraia