Insurers say Saturday is too soon to meet the White House’s goals on rapid tests.


Starting Saturday, new federal guidelines would require personal insurers to cowl the at-home coronavirus assessments that Americans purchase in pharmacies and different shops. The new system might, in principle, enable tens of millions of individuals to decide up assessments at hundreds of places with out spending any cash.

The actuality, at the very least in the brief time period, is probably to be messier: Some insurers say it’s going to in all probability take weeks to absolutely arrange the system the White House envisions.

The new course of might be onerous, the insurers say, as a result of over-the-counter coronavirus assessments are completely different from the physician’s visits and hospital stays they usually cowl.

The assessments don’t at the moment have the sort of billing codes that insurers use to course of claims. Health plans not often course of retail receipts; as an alternative they’ve constructed methods for digital claims with preset codecs and long-established billing codes.

Because of this, some insurers plan to handle the rapid take a look at claims manually at the begin.

“This is taking things back to the olden days, where you’ll have a person throwing all these paper slips in a shoe box, and eventually stuffing it into an envelope and sending it off to a health insurer to decipher,” mentioned Ceci Connolly, the chief govt of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, which represents smaller, nonprofit insurers.