NEW YORK – The US Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday it is directing $4.8 billion to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for the uninsured.
The funding is being allocated as part of the American Rescue Plan to support the Heath Resources and Services Administration's COVID-19 Uninsured Program. As of May 19, the program issued about $4 billion in testing reimbursements to providers, HHS noted, adding about 29 million Americans are uninsured.
"As we vaccinate the country, let’s continue taking the preventive measures necessary to keep the virus under control and prevent it from spreading," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "Testing remains critical and now it’s available at no cost to those who need it."
The $4.8 billion in funding is dedicated to COVID-19 testing, and the COVID-19 Uninsured Program reimburses providers at national Medicare rates for providing the testing. "Over the course of this pandemic, uncertainty about coverage and costs has created unnecessary barriers to testing for many patients, including those without health insurance," Julie Khani, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, said in a statement. "The actions announced today will help more Americans access the COVID-19 testing they need without hesitation."