A group that represents a half-million retired state and local government workers on Monday urged the federal government to expand access to free COVID-19 tests to include people on Medicare.

The Retired Public Employees Association, an organization that represents retired public employees in New York state, pointed to the Biden administration’s policy of having over-the-counter COVID-19 tests be covered by insurance and group plans, but excludes Medicare recipients. Many of their members are on fixed incomes, making such a rule inconvenient to a segment of the population that is older, and more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“If any portion of the population is most at risk from the effects of COVID infection, it is the elderly,” said Edward Farrell, RPEA’s executive director. “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 eight 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.”

The Empire Plan, which is part of the New York State Health Insurance Program, has voluntarily offered to cover test kits for those enrolled in Medicare.

The association on Monday released a letter to New York’s congressional delegation, urging federal lawmakers to address the issue, calling the problem “discriminatory based on age.”

Click here for the full story on Spectrum News statewide.

Click here for the follow up story, Gillibrand: Rapid COVID tests to be covered by Medicare, which ran on February 2, 2022 and again included RPEA’s stance on the issue.