CHICAGO — Millions of people in Illinois will soon have access to free at-home COVID-19 testing under a new Biden administration rule that will require insurance companies to cover the cost of tests. [Patch 1.11.2022]
Those in Illinois covered by private insurance will have free access to over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests starting Jan. 15. Tests can be purchased online or at a pharmacy or store, and they will be covered upfront by a health plan or through reimbursement.
"We are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release Monday.
Under the rule, insurance companies and health plans will be required to cover eight free at-home tests per covered individual per month. A doctor's note isn't required to obtain the tests, which must be authorized, cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
This means a family of four on the same insurance plan would be eligible for up to 32 free tests per month; however, there is no limit on the number of tests covered if ordered or administered by a health care provider.
The Biden Administration also said it's "incentivizing" insurers and group health plans to set up programs allowing people in Illinois to get over-the-counter tests directly through preferred pharmacies, retailers or other entities with no out-of-pocket costs.
Looking for an at-home test in Illinois? Here are some stores and pharmacies you can check:
- Walgreens (Has a purchase limit in place)
- CVS (Purchase limit in place)
- Walmart: (Some stores may have purchase limits in place)
- Jewel-Osco stores have offered both swab and spit at-home tests in the past
If you don't have private insurance or coverage through a group plan, you still have access to free tests in Chicago. Head to any of the following community testing sites or locations offering free at-home tests.
- RUSH LITTLE VILLAGE: Second Federal Credit Union, 3960 W. 26th St.
- ESPERANZA BRIGHTON PARK: 4700 S. California Ave. Testing available Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. (no testing on Thursdays or Sundays)
- Dirksen U.S. Courthouse (starting Wednesday): 219 S. Dearborn St. Testing Available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Other State of Illinois Community testing sites around the greater Chicago area may be found by clicking here.