Free Covid-19 tests to be available from September 25 as cases rise


Free COVID-19 tests from the federal government are available to order starting Monday, as health officials continue to monitor the latest surge in cases on Long Island and around the United States.

Meanwhile, insurers say they are continuing to update their computer systems to address issues that may prevent some policyholders from receiving the updated COVID vaccine for free, without any copayments, as required by law. Has happened in an attempt.

Experts said COVID-19 infection is widespread but mild most of the time. The number of COVID hospitalizations on Long Island has more than quadrupled since the beginning of July, according to state data, but the rate of increase has slowed, and the numbers remain lower than last year.

“The virus is less severe and most of the population has some degree of immunity, either through natural infection or vaccine or both,” said Dr. Leonard Krylov, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at NYU Langone Hospital – Long Island. “Both of those contribute to why it’s a mild disease.”

Monitoring of COVID-19 in wastewater shows high levels in Suffolk County and moderate levels in Nassau County, according to state data.

Hospitalizations and wastewater surveillance are two key ways scientists track the spread of COVID-19, especially because most people test at home and are not required to report results.

Still, state data shows the rate of newly reported infections has been rising for several weeks.

Krylov said most of the patients who tested positive were admitted for other conditions and were found to have COVID-19 during screening at the hospital. There has not been a significant increase in the number of ICUs, he said.

With the holiday season approaching, having access to home testing will allow people to monitor themselves for potential infections before large gatherings, he said.

Each household can order four free tests through COVIDTests.gov.

Experts say the updated COVID-19 vaccine is another way to reduce the spread of the virus, while also reducing the chance of severe illness in older adults, people with weakened immune systems and others at high risk.

Yet some Long Islanders have shown up to their vaccine appointments and been told their insurance doesn’t cover the shot, even though federal law mandates in-network coverage with no down payment. Medicare and Medicaid also cover the shot at no cost.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, a Washington, D.C.-based group representing private insurers, said in a statement Friday that it and its members are “working with the federal government, pharmacies and other partners to ensure patients have prompt access to COVID-19 care.” Working together.” Vaccines with $0 cost sharing and quickly resolve any issues with newly added billing codes.”

Leslie Moran, spokeswoman for the New York Health Plan Association, said insurers in New York appear to have resolved the issues.

“We have asked plans and what we have heard from plans is that the coding issues with the claims system have been fixed,” Moran said Friday. “There shouldn’t be any coding problems now.”

Danielle D’Souza, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said in an email that anyone who has been told their insurance does not cover the cost of the vaccine, and has paid for a shot, should “request that reimbursement.” Should immediately contact their insurer for which they are legally entitled.”

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