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Biden announces new plan to reimburse at-home coronavirus tests

A pharmacist in Lackawanna County say it could be a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Robert Zelinsky has a cold, and he says if his son hadn't tested negative for COVID-19, he'd be buying an at-home test.

"I think it's the right thing to do to find out if you're sick."

But folks we spoke with at Medicap Pharmacy in Olyphant say those tests are expensive.

A BinaxNOW at-home rapid COVID test comes with one test and costs $49.99.

"If it was available and it was paid for, I'd probably do it a few times when I wasn't feeling well or something," said Rena Armbruster of Jessup.

President Biden announced Thursday that cost won't be a factor anymore.

"If you're one of the 150 million Americans with private health insurance, next month, your plan will cover at-home tests," Pres. Biden said.

Biden laid out a multi-part plan saying the 150 million Americans with private insurance will be reimbursed for at-home tests.

RELATED: Biden details winter plan for combating COVID-19, omicron variant

"I definitely would get the at-home testing done if insurance covers it," said Kevin Chuff.

"If they do become available at no charge to the patient, the demand will increase exponentially," said Pharmacist Eric Pusey, owner of Medicap Pharmacy. "We have many patients that come in, and they just can't afford the tests. And if there is some type of insurance reimbursement or we can bill the insurances, there's no doubt that it's going to help to alleviate a lot of the concerns."

"I go through that now with my FSA," Zelinsky said. "I have a flexible savings account, where I pay for things out of pocket, and then I have to submit the claim to get reimbursed, so I know what that process is like. It's a hassle, but you do it to get your money back."

"The bottom line, this winter, you'll be able to test for free in the comfort of your home and have some peace of mind," said the president.

The White House says insurance won't cover these costs retroactively.

Biden says the White House will distribute 50 million free tests to community sites for those without insurance.

"I think that having home tests available will no doubt speed up the process," Pusey added. "It'll allow people to stay home, get over this a little quicker, bring it into a state of an endemic state, which means that it's going to be similar to a cold or flu."

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.