Third Round of Free COVID-19 Tests Are Now Available
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Third Round of Free COVID-19 Tests Are Now Available

The U.S. government announced on May 16 that it has obtained the funding for another round of free COVID-19 tests for U.S. households. This is the third round of free at-home tests to become available from the federal government. The first round of free tests, which were delivered in January and February, brought four free…

FDA Limits Emergency Use Authorization for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
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FDA Limits Emergency Use Authorization for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently limited the authorized use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to people age 18 and older for whom other vaccines aren’t appropriate or accessible and those who opt for J&J because they wouldn’t otherwise get vaccinated. This updated authorization also applies to booster doses. This change…

Study Finds a 7,000% Increase in Telehealth Utilization During Pandemic
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Study Finds a 7,000% Increase in Telehealth Utilization During Pandemic

According to a new report, telehealth usage grew more than 7,000% during the first year of the pandemic. This is the process of communicating with a doctor via an app, or a webcam and computer. FAIR Health’s annual report studies health care indicators, prices and utilization trends. With the latest data, researchers tracked changes from…

Moderna Requests FDA Vaccine Authorization for Children Under Age 6
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Moderna Requests FDA Vaccine Authorization for Children Under Age 6

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, Moderna announced that it is seeking emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine to be used among children ages 6 months to 5 years. The company will finish submitting data supporting its position to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by May 9. From there, the FDA is expected to…

Health Experts Warn COVID-19 Cases May Rise Due to New BA.2 Variant
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Health Experts Warn COVID-19 Cases May Rise Due to New BA.2 Variant

COVID-19 cases have trended down in the United States­ since a peak of infections in January 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now, health experts warn of a potential uptick of infections in the coming months due to the emergence of BA.2—a new variant of Omicron, which was the leading…

FDA Authorizes Fourth Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine Doses for Individuals Aged 50 and Older and Immunocompromised
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FDA Authorizes Fourth Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine Doses for Individuals Aged 50 and Older and Immunocompromised

On Tuesday, March 29, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a second booster dose of two COVID-19 vaccines for people aged 50 and older and individuals who are immunocompromised. The new boosters could be administered four months after the first booster dose. Current vaccine evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious…

Telehealth Coverage for HDHPs Extended
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Telehealth Coverage for HDHPs Extended

A spending bill signed into law on March 15, 2022, extends the ability of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to provide benefits for telehealth or other remote care services before plan deductibles have been met without jeopardizing health savings account (HSA) eligibility. This extension applies to any telehealth services from April 2022 through the end of…

CDC Loosens Mask-wearing Guidance for Most of U.S. Population
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CDC Loosens Mask-wearing Guidance for Most of U.S. Population

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updates to its mask-wearing recommendations, loosening guidance for a majority of the U.S. population. The CDC provides COVID-19 Community Levels as a tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. These levels can be low, medium or high…

How to Get Your Free At-home COVID-19 Tests
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How to Get Your Free At-home COVID-19 Tests

If you participate in a health plan—through your employer or otherwise—you are likely eligible for free over-the-counter COVID-19 tests for home use. Details vary by plan, but here are basics about this cost-saving opportunity: Tests—In many instances, insurance companies are required to reimburse you $12 per individual test. An insurer is required to provide reimbursement…

Agencies Issue Guidance on Coverage of OTC COVID-19 Tests
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Agencies Issue Guidance on Coverage of OTC COVID-19 Tests

On Jan. 10, 2022, the Depts. of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury issued FAQ guidance regarding the requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers to cover over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 diagnostic tests. At-home COVID-19 tests must be covered even if they are obtained without the involvement of a health care…