Trump Administration Will Require Insurers to Provide Free Antibody Tests

The Trump administration has announced it will require health insurers to provide free antibody tests to detect potential immunity against coronavirus. Insurance providers will be required to offer the tests for free to receive grants under the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill.

In early April, the FDA authorized its first Emergency Use Authorization for a blood test for antibodies against COVID-19. Health-care officials are hopeful that antibody testing will turn the tide of the epidemic by helping identify individuals who have developed an immune response to the virus. The test also will be instrumental in determining eligibility to donate convalescent plasma as a potential therapy for those who are severely ill.

It is still unclear how much immunity a person who recovers from the coronavirus gains after infection, or how long it lasts. Widespread testing will help researchers answer these critical questions.

The new ordinance from the White House did not specify whether free antibody tests would be available to uninsured Americans.

Sources: Politico, April 11, 2020; FDA press release, April 7, 2020.