Remember in 2021, when people were willing to do anything to find a COVID check? In response, the government started sending out free tests and then It is mandatory that the insurance reimburses you for eight tests a month. If you have private insurance, you can walk into Walgreens, ask the pharmacist for a script for a COVID test, and walk out with a stack of tests without paying a dime, regardless of your coverage.

But here we are in the spring of 2023, and a public health emergency is about to be declared Expires May 11, and with it, that path to compensation. To be clear, private insurance still can to like To cover covid testing, but lol. So here’s why you should still get tested, where to find the tests, and how to pony up your insurance company so you’re stocked up before time runs out. There is still enough time to complete 16 more tests before the reimbursement ends.

Yes, you should still test

Yes, you are probably going to get covid. (again?) and then get it again. And again. During your life, you will probably get it at least a few times. Science says that each of these infections, no matter how you feel during the infection, Your lung contributes to your risk of COVID, and that many more people experience long covid than we realize. Covid is now recognized as vascular, and growing evidence shows that Microclots lead to neurological, cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. Sometimes those fatigue and high heart rates last for a few weeks, but you probably know someone who has experienced other effects, like COVID tow or brain fog. There is also evidence that our bodies can’t fight off ongoing colds, an increase in flu and yeast infections is an indirect result. Overtaxed immune system. While these may all seem like minor problems because near-term mortality risk is no longer ubiquitous, Due to prolonged covid many people are so disabled that they cannot workAnd more than that Only the old and sick being affected

It’s important to do what you can to reduce your viral load during each infection and get as few infections as possible. One of our tools is interventions like paxlovide, which are initially touted for potentially serious outcomes, even though the science says it will. convenience most people, Reducing your risk of prolonged covid up to 30%. The path to getting paxlovid starts with a positive test and you can only get a script for paxlovid within the first five days of symptoms.

How to test now

Gone are the test centers that lined the streets of major cities and the parking lots of convention centers and fairgrounds. When national testing conglomerates like Curative and Carbon Health decide to close their testing centers, that means less access to rapid tests covered by the government or insurance. These were usually PCR or molecular tests, which are thought to be much more accurate than the simple rapid antigen/lateral flow tests we have at home. Actually, there is sufficient evidence That provides rapid antigen tests (RATs). False negative results for the first 5-6 days of infectionBut a PCR/molecular testing will be accurate During that time

You can still get home tests from drugstores, Costco, Amazon, and most grocery stores, and they’re all going to be rapid antigen/lateral flow tests. They are not bad, because a positive is almost always reliable, even if the first few days are not negative. These are good for the backend of the infection, telling you when You are no longer contagious (Because five days Governance is not the result of capitalism science)

To get a PCR or molecular test, you have two options: go to a place that offers the test, perhaps an urgent care or travel testing site, or pony up for a new molecular test at home. Two companies now offer those tests: Cue health There is a hub and individual rapid molecular tests, but they are expensive: $50-$75 each. but Lucira Health There is a molecular test for $25-$35. For your $12 per exam, that’s $13 out of pocket each.

How does reimbursement work?

If you are looking for rapid antigen tests, the easiest way to get them is to call your pharmacy and request your eight tests for this month. Your pharmacist can fill the script. In most cases, your health insurance has already negotiated with large chains like Walgreens, RiteAid, and CVS, so that’s all you need to do. When they are ready, go get them.

Ordering online is a bit more complicated—and rapid molecular tests must be ordered online. First, make sure your health insurance covers them (in my experience, most insurers cover the two I named above, Q and Lucira). After that, you have to pay for them in advance and retain your receipt. All insurance companies have forms that you fill out, and the real challenge is finding the form. The quickest route is to just call your insurance and ask. This is a pharmacy reimbursement, so ask for a pharmacy to get there quickly or call the pharmacy number on your card. Fill out the form, submit it with your receipt, and you can expect a check in about eight weeks.

Even after refunds end on May 11, they will still pay claims for purchases made before then, so if you order today, and again within 30 days, you’ll be able to stock up on a 2-month trial. Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, get them anyway. Use them to make sure you can safely spend time with friends you haven’t seen in three years, like your elderly parents or grandparents. Give them to those who need them. Get them to screw over the insurance company – it’s one of the few times in your life you’ll ever do.

The pandemic may be “over,” but that’s the thing about pandemics: they never end.

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