Insurance Companies Struggle To Implement Biden's COVID Test Mandate

January 14, 2022

Insurance companies say President Joe Biden's COVID-19 test mandate is unworkable.

Health insurers say customers should expect weeks, at a minimum, before they can be reimbursed for their COVID-19 tests, according to a report from the New York Times. The delay is due to the short notice—less than a week—that Biden gave to the companies before the mandate went into effect.

Many insurance companies, according to the Times, do not have digital billing codes for COVID-19 tests, meaning each claim has to be processed manually by an individual agent. Companies are asking customers to keep physical receipts and the box of the test they purchased in case they need to be mailed to the insurers.

"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," Ceci Connolly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, told the Times.

One insurance broker said many customers can look forward to "a six-month nightmare trying to get reimbursed" as employees wait for guidance on how to process claims. 

In a statement to the Times, the White House said "the most important thing is that starting Saturday those tests are covered free of charge." 

The Washington Free Beacon reported earlier this week that Biden has yet to explain the funding mechanism for the mandate, which could cost insurance companies more than $20 billion a month. 

Published under: Biden Administration