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As Omicron continues to wreak havoc, watch for scams

With the recent holidays, and with people wanting to visit friends and families amid a very contagious Omicron outbreak,  there has been a huge demand for at-home, instant testing.  These can be bought in stores, except that most stores run out hours after getting a delivery.
Various providers have set up instant test sites, or online sites to order tests kits.

Sounds good, right?

The problem is that the government does not yet cover rapid testing or require insurers to cover them.  President Biden announced that these tests should be covered sometime after January 15, 2022.

So, what to do?  Some states, like Vermont, have required insurers to cover the tests.  Some companies, especially those that require frequent testing, will pay for them.  The test should cost around $7, but the New York State Attorney General is investigating reports of price gouging.

*TIP: If you see a test being sold for a high price, please report it to SMP or your local authorities.  Price-gouging during an emergency is a crime.

Because of the shortages, prices and people who lack insurance, local, state and federal governments are planning to distribute free kits via community organizations.  Hawaii recently did this.

*TIP: Be aware or call around to see if any tests are being distributed where you live.

*TIP If you don’t need an immediate test, government testing sites or doctors’ offices often offer Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, which generally take 24-48 hours to process, although there are reports of serious delays at this time of the year.

*BEST TIP: Be vaccinated, wear a mask in any indoor space and follow social distancing rules.

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