Rapid corona tests will initially be available by the end of February 2023 – but on a smaller scale than before. And: They’ll soon be free for just a few people.
Corona citizen tests are expected to be severely restricted from this weekend. According to the latest draft regulation by the Federal Ministry of Health, only four groups should receive free testing, instead of the previous ten.
Many will have to pay the costs themselves in the future
This is valid only until the end of February and not until April, as originally recommended by the Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD).
For all other citizens, the previous contribution regulation is no longer valid. From now on, they have to cover all the costs of the test. According to the draft regulation, the protection of especially vulnerable groups with free tests is prioritized.
Preventive tests limited to few tests
In the future, preventive testing will be limited to residents and employees of care facilities, hospital visitors, rehabilitation and care facilities, and outpatient services workers. People who have to test themselves after a proven corona infection and isolation should also qualify for the citizen test.
Normally, an exemption of three euros has to be paid for a quick test at the test centre. This rule is now gone. Then full price is paid. There is also a lower fee for antigen testing.
Costs drop dramatically for the federal government
That cuts federal spending by up to one million euros for every million tests, according to the information. For every million rapid antigen tests, material costs for the federal government are reduced by about half a million euros.
“It focuses on current epidemic events and therefore takes care of taxpayer money,” stressed Klein. Compared to the original draft of the Ministry of Health, there is a savings of “approximately 1.5 billion euros”.
Previous corona test regulation expires on Friday
The draft foresees the extension of the exam regulation, which expires on Friday, until December 31, 2024, and the extension of the right to take the citizenship exam until February 28 (including this date) next year.
The Ministry of Health’s original draft regulation, which provides financing for corona citizen tests until April 2023, was met with criticism from the FDP, as well as Union politicians and taxpayers’ association. The current testing regulation expires on Friday. The new arrangement should then proceed without delay.
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