Eshoo Urges CMS to Cover At-Home Covid Tests for Medicare Beyond Public Health Emergency

September 12, 2022
Press Release

PALO ALTO, CA – Today, U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee, urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to ensure at-home Covid-19 tests are covered for Medicare beneficiaries after the public health emergency (PHE) ends. Currently, Medicare coverage for at-home Covid-19 diagnostic tests is set to expire at the end of the Covid-19 PHE.

Eshoo wrote:

“At-home Covid-19 tests have become a routine and important part of our country’s mitigation strategies, and ending insurance coverage for these tests could impede their accessibility for those who are among the most susceptible and vulnerable to infection. The need for at-home Covid-19 tests will not go away when the PHE ends.”

In January 2022, before at-home Covid-19 tests were covered by Medicare, Rep. Eshoo wrote to HHS Secretary Becerra urging the federal government to expand coverage of at-home tests to Medicare beneficiaries. Three months later, CMS fulfilled her request and expanded coverage of at-home tests to Medicare beneficiaries at no cost.

A PDF of the letter can be found HERE and the text of the letter is below:

Dear Administrator Brooks-LaSure,

I commend the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for expanding coverage of at-home Covid-19 diagnostic tests to Medicare beneficiaries at no cost on April 4, 2022. This coverage decision was a historic first for our country, as Medicare beneficiaries could receive the same diagnostic coverage benefits as those who are privately insured. Broad access to diagnostic testing is paramount for effectively mitigating the spread of Covid-19, and I’m grateful for the work that CMS has done to protect the health of those living in the United States throughout this pandemic.

As it currently stands, Medicare coverage for at-home Covid-19 diagnostic tests is set to expire at the end of the Covid-19 public health emergency (PHE). At-home Covid-19 tests have become a routine and important part of our country’s mitigation strategies, and ending insurance coverage for these tests could impede their accessibility for those who are among the most susceptible and vulnerable to infection. The need for at-home Covid-19 tests will not go away when the PHE ends. It is critical that we maintain robust access to at-home diagnostic tools that can help stop the spread of this virus at any time, particularly since new variants are known to arise.

I urge you to ensure our nation’s Medicare beneficiaries have access to the Covid-19 diagnostic tests they’ve come to rely on beyond the PHE. I ask that you provide me with additional information on CMS’ authority and plans to extend this coverage program beyond the Covid-19 PHE.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and I look forward to your timely response. As always, I stand ready and willing to work with you in reaching our mutual goal of mitigating the impact of Covid-19 for all Americans.

Most gratefully,
 

Anna G. Eshoo

Member of Congress

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