Senate Negotiators Approve $10 Billion in Covid Aid to Boost Testing Why That’s Good for You


More funding for Covid test clinics and the like is in the works, and it could be a cost saver for employers looking to get people back into the office.

Today, Senate negotiators agreed on a $10 billion spending deal to further fund the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to undisclosed congressional resources cited by The Wall Street Journal. It’s well below the $22.5 billion the White House originally asked for, and the previous bipartisan deal with $15.6 billion in repurposed funding. Those funds were expected to come from untapped funding provided to states, while the $10 billion that would now be in question would come from other untapped Covid utilities.

Regardless, the current package would allow the US to purchase supplies, including more tests and vaccines that will be needed to continue fighting the virus, as a new strain may be on the way. A variant of Omicron called Omicron BA.2 has led to an increase in cases in parts of Europe and Asia and now accounts for more than half of new Covid cases in the US

The extra funding is good news for companies, especially those with employees who are often tested. While not required, many companies still choose to allow only vaccinated employees into the office, or those who can show a recent Covid negative test. Still other companies encourage everyone to get tested regularly.

With no funding in recent weeks, Covid testing sites in the US had begun demanding insurance information and billing the test takers’ insurance companies or the test takers themselves. As of January this year, insurance companies will be required to cover at least eight Covid tests per month per person, but that doesn’t mean they’re free. Insurance companies may start raising premiums as their costs rise. That would affect both employers and employees, depending on the type of plan and the level of coverage.

And for the uninsured, the entire cost of testing, which can be as much as about $125 for a PCR test, would be the responsibility of the individual.

With more government-sponsored testing services available, employees who visit government-sponsored testing facilities won’t get higher premiums — at least not when it comes to Covid testing.

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