When the coronavirus started spreading worldwide in early 2020, scientists were racing against time to develop reliable tests to determine who had become infected. Since then, PCR tests and rapid antigen tests have not only become household names, but they have also become widely available.
Apart from vaccinations and precautions like social distancing and mask-wearing, testing remains one of the essential tools to control the pandemic. We all know that it is possible to be infected and infect others without ever showing symptoms.
Testing helps determine whether someone is infected and should therefore isolate. Especially in busy workplaces, it is easy for the virus to spread in record time.
Since early 2020, the coronavirus has mutated several times, spreading new variants throughout the U.S. and beyond. At least one of those variants – delta – spread faster than its predecessors. Currently, scientists are starting to see evidence that the newly discovered omicron variant may be spreading even quicker than delta.
Identifying individuals who have become infected early is key to limiting the spread.
In December 2021, President Biden announced that from 2022 millions of Americans will be able to get the cost of at-home tests reimbursed by their insurance plan. The announcement is part of the administration’s winter plan to fight the virus. Part of the plan is to extend testing for COVID-19 and make it routine.
At-home tests also minimize the exposure of medical professionals in doctor’s offices and hospitals.
The goal is to identify anyone infected with the virus as soon as possible and enable them to isolate while they recover. Self-testing avoids delays caused by waiting for an appointment or scheduling difficulties, too.
Right now, at-home tests are widely available over the counter from pharmacies, other stores, or online. However, private health insurance plans usually do not cover the purchase cost.
There are a few exceptions to this rule: the cost will be covered if your doctor orders the test. Insurers have to cover COVID-19 tests if a patient shows COVID-19 symptoms or if they contacted a person who has tested positive.
President Biden’s announcement will likely change this practice. Employer-based healthcare plans are called upon to reimburse the cost of at-home testing for members.
While the Government did not yet announce the details of the detailed requirements, employers would do well to start preparing. The Government will lay out specifications for the implementation by the middle of January 2022.
This date may seem like it is far in the future, but it will only give employers a few weeks to prepare. Depending on your organization’s workforce size, you may need to cover the costs of dozens or hundreds of tests.
The administrative effort involved in reimbursing these payments would keep an entire HR team busy for days, if not weeks. For this reason alone, employers and HR professionals need to find a more practical solution now.
Allowing your team access to routine COVID-19 and even surveillance testing will create a safer workplace. Putting procedures in place for employees of your organization is not only about following government regulations. It is about keeping staff, their friends, and their families safe. Above all, it will help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Consider joining forces with an experienced partner to give your team access to testing when they need it. Facilitating free at-home tests is easier with the help of online tools.
Health & Wellness platform from TrueCare™ offers employers a range of comprehensive coronavirus control solutions, including at-home testing.
By allowing your team access to the platform’s facilities, you cover all coronavirus precautions from one location. As an HR professional, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you comply with legal requirements while doing your best to keep employees safe.
The platform covers at-home testing and allows access to laboratory-based tests, and it can help your organization verify and organize vaccinations. Plus, your team will have access to an easy-to-use wellness dashboard and diabetes screening facilities. This health and wellness tool is an excellent way of creating a healthier company culture.
TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.