HHS to spend $4.8 billion on COVID-19 testing

The American Rescue Plan funds will provide testing for the uninsured.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will dedicate $4.8 billion to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program.

According to a news release, the funds will be provided from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). As of May 19, the program has issued more than $4 billion in testing reimbursements.

“As we vaccinate the country, let’s continue taking the preventive measures necessary to keep the virus under control and prevent it from spreading,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra says in the release. “Testing remains critical and now it’s available at no cost to those who need it. This funding will help ensure everyone has access to testing regardless of whether they have health insurance.”

With about 29 million uninsured people in the U.S., it is imperative to keep programs like the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program remain adequately funded. While this funding is earmarked for testing, HRSA also helps the uninsured gain access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations by reimbursing physicians at national Medicare rates for these services, the release says.

“Focusing on the underserved and eliminating health access barriers for vulnerable communities is a core part of our mission,” Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa says in the release. “To truly return to normal after the pandemic, we must continue to test, treat and vaccinate everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status.”