Insurers are mandated to provide, eventually, no cost anti-gen testing kits to commercially insured members.
That is not the universal case for insurers:
Here’s Cigna’s form for covid rapid test reimbursement, which needs to be printed and either mailed or faxed. I wonder what percent of Americans own a printer? https://t.co/qCtLd1LiO3
— Hannah Recht (@hannah_recht) January 18, 2022
Save the receipt *and* the test box (or at least a photo of the barcode). I've had some insurers tell me they are going to require both for reimbursement, since a receipt may not have the information they need to process the claim. https://t.co/uXEXJOEK77 https://t.co/flV4ofxob6
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) January 14, 2022
This is a great study of WANT TO versus HAVE TO.
Let me divert for a minute to July 1996.
I was a slob (and a bit of an asshole) as a teenager. I usually kept my room just clean enough to avoid getting grounded. And that minimal level of orderliness was usually the result of a lot of sullen eye rolling, muttered comments under my breath and a decent chance of an argument with at least one of my parents. That summer I was working 50-60 hours a week at two jobs. Two of my sisters worked at an overnight summer camp. My parents decided to take a vacation. They asked if I wanted to go with them and my two youngest siblings or I could stay home for the week, not burn the house down and make the money that would pay for part of my semester in Paris four years later. I stayed home and worked my ass off.
I had the house to myself. Most of the week that meant I got up at 5:30, went to my first job, headed to my second job, got home at six, ate, and then went out until a bit too late with friends. It was a good week.
That Friday night, I had half a dozen friends over. My room was spotless. I was excessively motivated. One of the people who came over was a brunette with questionable judgement (she thought I was cute). I was not going to blow my chance with her by having Hanes boxers sitting in the middle of the floor. Keeping my room clean was, at that moment a WANT TO situation. My parents were slightly surprised at how clean the house was on Saturday evening when they came home (especially as I had managed to get rid of the pizza boxes and beer bottles in a community recycling center that morning).
And now back to antigen testing….
Antigen testing is primarily designed to produce public health externalities by reducing chains of transmission as individuals who are not currently symptomatic can identify an infection and change their behaviors to reduce transmission risk. There are some internalizable gains as some treatments are better the earlier they are started but most of the value of antigen testing is through the creation of externalities.
Government is fundamentally a way to solve collective action problems where coordination matters and winners compensate losers. Insurers fundamentally care about internalizable gains and losses. They fundamentally care about the benefits that their premium paying members can collect. Government is in a WANT TO situation. Insurers are in a HAVE TO situation. They are being told to do something that does not immediately align with their business case incentives.
Creating situations where WANT TO and HAVE TO align is a challenge but when a HAVE TO is also a WANT TO things get easier.