On Tuesday, a Montgomery County rapid test distribution site in Bethesda, Maryland, opened to the public at 4 p.m.
About a half hour later, it had already run out of rapid tests.
“Everybody’s out of them. All the CVS are out of them and everybody’s just looking,” one man said at the site, which was located at the Connie Morella Public Library.
The hundreds who showed up after the tests ran out were told there might be more on Wednesday.
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The experience is one people in that line shared with parents of school children, first responders, healthcare workers, hospitality workers and others who waited outside in the cold to get their hands on COVID-19 tests across the state and our region.
To help assuage the rush for tests, President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday that health insurers will pay for over-the-counter test kits, but there is still a lot of confusion over how it will all work.
And those answers can’t come soon enough.
Health insurance plans are expected to start covering tests purchased on Saturday, and any tests bought before then will not qualify.
The kits will be available without a doctor’s order, any over-the-counter test with emergency authorization from the FDA is covered, and the policy will cover up to eight tests per month for each family member.
To be reimbursed, people will likely have to log onto their insurance provider's website and submit a receipt.
As people scramble to find tests and figure out how their insurance will pay, an industry group called America’s Health Insurance Plans said, “Health insurance providers will work as quickly as possible to implement this guidance in ways that limit consumer confusion and challenges.”
Their statement goes on to say: “While there will likely be some hiccups in early days, we will work with the administration to swiftly address issues as they arise.”
Those who do not have insurance will have to keep trying to get test kits through public distribution sites like the one in Bethesda.