Pharmacies not entirely pleased with ‘free’ COVID-19 test rollout

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 10:51 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – To get eight free COVID tests per month, all you have to do is have health insurance.

“You would look on the back of your health ID or the pharmacy benefits information on your health policy, and submit it to them,” said Bill Nystrom, VP of Atlas Insurance Brokers. “I don’t know what the procedure is if you’re ordering them online besides taking the receipt and turning it into your Bluecross Blueshield or your health insurance provider.”

To the person in need of tests, it may be free of charge, but in return, pharmacies are often taking the hit.

A pharmacist at Hunts’ in Rochester encountered many issues, one of them being high demand for these tests.

Additionally, he says insurers are not reimbursing pharmacies at full cost of these tests. For example, Hunts’ is only getting $8 back from insurance companies on testing kits that cost $15.

This policy, if continued, will come at quite a premium for insurers as well.

“That adds up fast, if you can get eight a month reimbursed,” said Nystrom. “If this continues, and COVID tests become a part of our world, you know, that could cause more premium increases in the future as well.”

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