Louisville, KY—As more and more pharmacies are offering COVID-19 testing, Humana became the first healthcare insurer to offer some slightly different options for its members.

The company announced a pilot home-testing program for COVID-19, using a product developed by LabCorp. At the same time, Humana announced a collaboration with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics to make it easier for members to get tested. Those deemed eligible will be able to access drive-thru testing at Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy locations across the country at no cost to members; pharmacists will observe as people self-test.

“Our members continue to be worried about COVID-19—including the anxiety about possibly having it and not knowing it,” explained Mona Siddiqui, Humana Senior Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Quality. “We want to help alleviate that stress. This is an additional step we can take to help address their concerns – whether testing from the safety of their own home or using the drive-thru option.”

The process of being tested begins with the use of a coronavirus risk-assessment tool developed by Humana, available on their website and based on guidelines from the CDC.

Qualifying for testing are both members who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection and those without symptoms who report they might have been exposed to the virus. They will be able to opt for an in-home test or drive-thru testing.

Humana members with Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medicaid, or most employer group plans through Humana are eligible for the tests, with Humana waiving member costs, according to the press release.

The at-home test is available through LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp online platform. The test kit is physician-authorized and allows for self-collected nasal swab specimens at home.

In April, the FDA re-issued the emergency use authorization (EUA) to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit.

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, said at the time that the agency “worked with LabCorp to ensure the data demonstrated from at-home patient sample collection is as safe and accurate as sample collection at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing site. With this action, there is now a convenient and reliable option for patient sample collection from the comfort and safety of their home.”

Patients use a designated self-collection kit that contains nasal swabs and saline. Once they self-swab to collect their nasal sample, they mail their sample, in an insulated package, to a LabCorp laboratory for testing. 

For members who prefer a drive-thru test, Humana is teaming up with Walmart, Quest Diagnostics and PWNHealth.

“As we continue to innovate around our COVID-19 testing, we are opening testing sites using our Neighborhood Market pharmacy window,” Walmart states on its website. “People being tested will be provided with a testing kit from the pharmacist through the drive-thru window tray. The pharmacist will observe as they swab themselves through the sealed pharmacy window, then the individual will properly seal the test in a container and plastic bag and drop their sample at a drop box as they pull out. Our lab courier will pick up the samples from the drop box outside at the end of the testing period.”

The retailer emphasizes that the test samples will never enter the pharmacy.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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