Free At-home Tests, Why Mask Upgrades Are Needed

Everyone is sick and tired of hearing about COVID-19. But there is some news we wanted to share. You may have heard that insurance now covers at-home tests, and cloth masks no longer protect you from the virus. We are looking into those stories more in-depth to give you ways to help yourself.

As of this past weekend, insurance will reimburse you for home COVID-19 tests. You can buy them from pharmacies, stores or the internet. Keep your receipt, submit it as a claim to insurance and you will be reimbursed for up to 12 dollars for each test. The tests are subject to your deductible. You can get eight a month per person in your household. You do not need a doctor’s order to be covered.    

Because this is such a fresh decision, there isn’t a network of preferred suppliers yet. Insurers may make arrangements so you can pick up free tests at specific stores — the same way some supermarkets will offer free flu shots. For right now, it’s just a reimbursement arrangement. Tests bought before Jan. 15 are not covered by the program. Medicaid is also covering the cost of home tests.

Home tests can be difficult to find at the moment. Many stores are sold out. They are available on Amazon. The government will be doubling the number they are distributing to one billion and will be sending them out for free. They are still in the process of setting up a website and phone number for people to request these tests. Some states are also distributing free tests.

The second piece of big news is that, as most people have heard, with Omicron being so contagious, cloth masks are no longer effective protection. “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron,” emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen said. “We need to be wearing at least a 3-ply surgical mask. You can wear a cloth mask on top of that, but do not just wear a cloth mask alone.” In crowded places, “you should be wearing a KN95 or N95 mask.”

The thing that gives many people pause is the news that there are so many fake masks out there. With the rise of the mask industry, there’s also been a huge market for subpar masks that are little more than paper. You can buy surgical masks from reputable brands in the grocery store and pharmacy. But, getting KN95 and N95 masks is a little trickier, and most people go online. If you read reviews, a ton of them will say, “This was delivered, and I realized it was two-ply paper.”

To avoid that problem, if you are looking for a good mask, Bona Fide Mask Corp. is a highly reputable mask company. They give you information about their supply chain, so you know what you are. They are one of the most trusted sources of masks online.

As always, we hope you’re all well, and we hope that this information has been helpful to you.  

Banner image: Guido Hofmann via Unsplash

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