Payers fear over-the-counter test price gouging due to Biden COVID-19 plan

As President Joe Biden looks to combat the spread of COVID-19 by requiring payers to cover over-the-counter tests, insurers fear that the move could result in price gouging, Bloomberg reported Dec. 2. 

While President Biden still has to issue additional guidance on the plan, Kristine Grow, America's Health Insurance Plans spokesperson, told Bloomberg that AHIP wants to make sure "that price gouging does not spread to OTC [over-the-counter] tests, that consumers are protected from higher premiums, and that clear rules and guidance allow these efforts to be implemented effectively."

The same fears apply to companies with self-funded insurance. 

"We've got a finite supply, and we just created a massive demand, and if the prices start to skyrocket and they're being forced to pay for it, it could cause significant economic hardship, for particularly companies that are low-margin," Scott Conard, chair of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions' medical director advisory council, told Bloomberg

Mr. Conard also cited concerns with the supply of at-home tests, as President Biden's plan would increase demand and potentially drive up prices. The president committed $3 billion to the production and acquisition of COVID-19 tests for his plan.

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