Starting this spring Seniors with Medicare can get up to eight free, at-home COVID-19 tests each month. Seniors say this will alleviate the financial burden of frequent testing.
"It'd be nice to have them available, so that's great!" said, Ronald Ehn.
These tests will be available at participating pharmacies including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and local independent pharmacies. This comes as part of the effort to bridge the gap in available at-home, COVID-19 testing kits.
"No doubt about it, if it's easier and would be more available to us that'd be fantastic," said Ehn.
Last month the Biden administration made private insurers cover up to 8 FDA-authorized rapid tests per member per month. Now Medicare will do the same. This is especially important given the demographic of Medicare customers. They are generally people 65+ many of whom would be considered high risk if they were to be infected with COVID-19.
Some seniors say testing is a thing of the past, and these testing kits aren't as helpful now that many vulnerable seniors are vaccinated.
"I haven't heard of anybody getting tested," said Paso Robles resident, Tom McCaslane.
"It probably would be helpful if we needed it, but we're already fully vaccinated," said Paso Robles resident, Sherry McCaslane.
Saying unless the current vaccine is rendered ineffective or weakened, they don't have much use for these tests.
"Unless we're going to have another booster shot or something, we'd use it," said Sherry McCaslane.
McCaslane says these tests could benefit those who are unvaccinated.
"I think so because it's not invasive to them at all. The ones who are reluctant seem to be afraid of something. They shouldn't be afraid of the test," said Tom McCaslane.
Others say these free tests would inspire them to check their COVID-19 status before gathering with others.
"Anytime we have a group affair of any kind, whether it be family or friends, to be able to get that checked out before," said Ehn.
While fully vaccinated people may not need to test as often, the CDC recommends getting tested if you have symptoms or if you’ve been around someone with COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.