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Private insurers to pay for eight rapid tests a month, Biden administration says

An empty playground at a public school temporarily closed for in-person learning in Philadelphia, on Jan. 6. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg News)

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Private insurers will be required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home coronavirus rapid tests per person per month, the Biden administration said Monday, as the country continued to battle record levels of newly reported cases.

The plan, announced by the Department of Health and Human Services, will take effect Saturday and applies to all at-home tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Consumers may purchase the tests online or in person, and the cost will either be covered upfront or people will have to file a claim for reimbursement, the HHS said in a statement.

“Today’s action further removes financial barriers and expands access to COVID-19 tests for millions of people,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement.  

Here’s what to know

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Here's what to know:

The fate of Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees remains uncertain as legal challenges continue and the federal government delays some enforcement.
Virginia’s governor on Monday declared a limited state of emergency aimed to expanding hospital capacity.
Other states and health systems are also taking aggressive new steps to assist overwhelmed hospitals.


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Coronavirus: What you need to know

Where do things stand? See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

The state of public health: Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation’s public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

Grief and the pandemic: A Washington Post reporter covered the coronavirus — and then endured the death of her mother from covid-19. She offers a window into grief and resilience.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

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