Experts, Insurers Sound Off About COVID Test Payment Guidance

The Biden administration on Jan. 10 issued much-anticipated details about its new requirements for private health plans to pay for at-home COVID-19 tests, sparking immediate questions from industry observers and insurer trade groups alike about whether this is the right way to go about expanding testing access.

“We absolutely agree that a comprehensive national testing strategy is desperately needed and overdue,” says Ceci Connolly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP). Members of the organization representing nonprofit health plans have been covering physician-ordered, lab-based tests — as required by pandemic relief legislation — throughout the public health emergency, she tells AIS Health, a division of MMIT. “Unfortunately, this approach runs the risk of confusing a lot of people, frustrating people who probably have trouble getting tests and probably not reaching the target audiences. So it misses the mark.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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