skip to Main Content

Retirees Demand Equity in Access to COVID-19 Tests

Population Most At-Risk and On Fixed Incomes Not Given Access To Free At-Home Tests

Albany, NY – The Retired Public Employees Association, representing the interests of 500,000 New York state and local government retirees and their beneficiaries, are seeking equal access to at-home COVID-19 tests. With much fanfare, the federal government announced that as of January 15, 2022, it is requiring insurance companies and group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests.

This is great news unless you are on Medicare.

The federal government decided not to extend this benefit to the segment of the population most at risk of the effects of COVID-19. The population that is also predominantly on fixed incomes. 

The Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) has contacted the New York Congressional Delegation and is seeking a reversal of this policy.  Click here to read the letter.

RPEA Executive Director Edward Farrell told the Delegation, “If any portion of the population is most at risk from the effects of COVID infection, it is the elderly. That has been the case from day one of the outbreak. It does not make sense to preclude that group from going to the local pharmacy to obtain 8 free tests per month to be administered in the convenience of their home. It is discriminatory based purely on age and should be immediately reversed.”

RPEA remains hopeful that the New York Congressional Delegation will intercede with President Biden to have the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reverse this ill-conceived policy. 

Farrell concluded by noting that the Empire Plan, which is part of the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), has voluntarily offered the no-cost test kit benefit to its Medicare enrollees.

The Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) is a powerful advocate for current and future government retirees. RPEA represents the interests of nearly 500,000 retirees, and their spouses and beneficiaries, from New York state and local governments, school districts, and public authorities. Learn more at:



Media Contact: Chyresse Wells; 518-441-3203

Back To Top