EXPLAINER: How will Biden’s COVID-19 test giveaway work? | Health care
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden says the federal government will buy half a billion COVID-19 rapid test kits and give them away to people for free use at home. But despite the high public demand for tests, it will be a few more weeks before these kits are ready to ship. The administration is still working on details of how the program will work.
DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE THE TESTS?
Not yet. This week, the defense, health and human resources departments were executing “what is known as an” accelerated emergency contract, “” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The contract is due to be signed shortly.
WHEN WILL THE TEST KITS BE DELIVERED?
The first delivery is expected in early January. All 500 million kits will not arrive at the same time, but will be delivered in batches.
MY DRUG HAS NO TESTS. HOW CAN I GET A FREE KIT FROM THE GOVERNMENT?
They will go to a new government website to request a kit, but the site will not be functional until the first test kits are shipped, Psaki said. She said the process was being handled in this way to avoid further confusion among the public. But the idea is for anyone who wants a test kit to log into this website to request one.
“We won’t set up the website until tests are available, of course,” said Psaki.
WHAT HOME TEST WILL I GET?
It’s unclear. However, Psaki noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several different brands of home rapid tests currently on the market.
WILL I BE LIMITED TO ONE TEST OR CAN I REQUEST MORE THAN ONE?
To be determined, said Psaki.
WHY DOES BIDEN BUY THESE TEST KITS?
It represents a recognition from the President that the government must do more to improve access to COVID-19 testing, which is an important tool in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
In cases where infected people are showing symptoms or not, testing is the only way to find out if they have the virus so they are not on the go and potentially spreading disease.
But demand for test kits rose as the holidays approached and people became eager to test themselves and their families before traveling, and as the easily transferable Omicron variant quickly spread in just a few weeks and became the dominant strain in the United States would
Biden’s promise of 500 million test kits comes on top of an earlier government commitment to send 50 million rapid tests to community health centers across the country.
HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?
The purchase will be paid for with funds from the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that Biden signed in March, the White House said. The exact costs will be known shortly.
IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO GET A TESTKIT FOR FREE?
In a speech on Tuesday, Biden said private insurers will cover the cost of home testing from January. So people have the option of buying tests in a store or online and then requesting reimbursement from their health insurance company.
The government will also give people who may not have health insurance access to free home testing, Biden said.