Screening tests against Covid-19, reimbursed unconditionally by health insurance since the start of the health crisis, will no longer be when they are carried out “for convenience”. The measure, announced by Emmanuel Macron on July 12, comes into force on Friday October 15.
► What is a so-called “comfort” test?
“It is no longer legitimate to pay excessively for comfort tests at the expense of taxpayers”, declared Jean Castex on September 26.The practices targeted by the government concern people who have not been vaccinated and who perform tests without a prescription, in pharmacies or in laboratories.
Until then, the unvaccinated could, thanks to these free tests reimbursed by health insurance, access public places subject to the health pass. Some of these places – cinemas, concert halls, festivals… – even offered the possibility of being tested on site for free.
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From October 15, these tests will pay off for the 7.5 million French people who do not yet have a complete vaccination schedule. An antigen test will cost 25 € in pharmacies or if it is carried out by a nurse, a dentist or a physiotherapist, 22 € in the laboratory. PCR tests carried out in the laboratory will be invoiced at 44 €.
► Which tests are still reimbursed?
Tests will always be free when prescribed. All the vaccinated people keep the possibility of being reimbursed for the tests, as well as those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, those recovered after an infection or those identified by the health insurance within the framework of the “contact”. tracing ”. Jean Castex also specified that minors will always be reimbursed.
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Eligible persons must present proof – health pass, vaccination certificate or certificate of medical contraindication or recovery, a medical prescription dating back less than 48 hours, proof of risky contact (email or SMS) sent by the health insurance or, for minors, a simple identity document.
► What about the self-tests?
The change from October 15 also affects the self-tests. The latter will no longer be recognized to validate his health pass, said the Ministry of Health in a statement Friday 8 October.
“This device had been deployed temporarily during the summer, in order to support the extension of the use of the health pass”, indicates the ministry. Only PCR and antigen tests dating back less than 72 hours remain valid. Self-tests performed without supervision “Remain accessible for individual monitoring”.
► What are the objectives of the measure?
“The logic is to reimburse the tests linked to genuinely medical reasons, and to continue to encourage people to be vaccinated”, summarized Jean Castex. In addition to encouraging vaccination, the measure should also reduce the bill for screening Health Insurance, which should reach 6.2 billion euros this year. The government hopes to reduce this cost to around 1.6 billion euros by 2022.
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The number of tests has already started to decline even before the delisting takes effect. In August, six million tests per week were carried out, indicates the ministry of health. This figure gradually declined to between 3.5 million and 4 million tests per week in early October. In all, more than 150 million tests have been carried out in France since March 2020.