Vermont officials announced an emergency rule Tuesday that will require insurance companies to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests.

The rule covers nearly 140,000 Vermonters with commercial insurance in the individual, small and large group markets, as well as members of the Vermont Education Health, according to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.

Once fully implemented, there will be no upfront costs and at-home tests will be processed under an individual’s pharmacy benefit with the pharmacy seeking reimbursement. Those purchasing the tests outside of a pharmacy setting will be required to submit a claim to their insurer for reimbursement.

Vermont currently lacks the authority to extend the emergency to self-insured plans but encourages those to voluntarily follow the rule in anticipation of new federal regulations recently announced by the Biden administration.

Mike Smith, Vermont’s Secretary of Human Services, says people who take the rapid antigen tests will self-report the results only if they test positive. Smith said Vermonters made good use of the tests over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“You are going to see this type of testing continued and ultimately be our main testing strategy in the future rapid results and take home tests,” Smith said.

Smith says the state will provide information on how to report a positive test. He suggests isolating yourself, calling your health care provider and reporting it to the Department of Health or calling 855 – 722 – 7878.

Vermonters should also reach out to their contacts rather than wait for the department to initiate contact tracing.