Ardian Zika wants insurers, HMOs to cover at home COVID-19 tests

Ardian Zika
At-home testing has been rapidly expanding.

Insurance companies and health maintenance organizations could start footing the cost for at-home COVID-19 testing for the next two years if Land O’ Lakes Republican Rep. Ardian Zika gets his way.

HB 129 bill would require insurance companies and health maintenance organizations to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test kits, including those with emergency-use authorization.

The coverage mandate applies to both the quicker acting, but less accurate, antigen tests as well as the molecular or PCR tests. The bill also makes clear that the test can be used at home or “elsewhere.”

The mandate comes as the availability of at-home testing for COVID-19 expands.

Unlike the early days of the pandemic, COVID-19 testing is available for individual purchase. Antigen tests can be ordered online, and the results are delivered rapidly at home. The Food and Drug Administration had approved more than 400 COVID-19 tests and collection kits as of Sept. 10.

That includes the approval of 63 home collection COVID-19 tests for molecular testing, which takes longer but is more accurate, and 13 at-home tests. Home collection kits are delivered to homes where a nasal or saliva specimen can be taken. The sample is then sent to a laboratory that can email the test results. At-home tests can be ordered online, and results given nearly immediately.

If passed and signed into law, HB 129 would take effect immediately and stay in effect until Dec. 31, 2023.

Zika is a member of the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, which could consider the bill during the 2022 Session. At press time, there was no Senate counterpart.

HB 129 is the second health insurance bill Zika has filed for the 2022 Session that mandates coverage for a specific health insurance benefit.

Zika filed HB 79 on Sept. 9, under which only licensed physicians and licensed audiologists would be authorized to prescribe, fit and dispense hearing aids to children under the age of 18. Children between the ages of 18 and 21 could be treated by licensed hearing aid specialists in addition to a licensed physician or licensed audiologist under the terms of the bill. At press time, there was no Senate companion to the bill.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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