Americans can once again get free COVID-19 tests — here's how

Americans can once again get free COVID-19 tests — here's how
  • Health-insurance firms are required to cover eight at-home COVID-19 tests per customer a month.

  • People can apply for reimbursement or visit in-network retailers for a free test.

  • The Biden administration is distributing four free coronavirus tests in December.

People with private health insurance can get at-home COVID-19 tests free of charge.

Insurance companies must cover eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests per person per month, the Biden administration announced in January of 2022. Any home-test kits authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration are eligible for reimbursement.

The policy covers rapid antigen tests (like Abbott's BinaxNow). Most insurance companies already cover the cost of a PCR test in a healthcare setting if someone has symptoms or has been exposed to COVID-19.

The FDA has approved 27 over-the-counter tests. Here are some of the tests, which are eligible for home delivery or pharmacy reimbursement:

Get tests for free at 'preferred' locations

Most people are able to get tests, which cost between $15 and $35 for a two-pack, covered up front at their insurer's "preferred" pharmacies. Insurers are required to pay for $12 per individual test (or $24 per two-pack) at out-of-network locations, which leaves the remaining cost to the customer.

You can check your insurer's website to see whether it has a network of retailers set up; otherwise, the company is responsible for the cost of all eight tests with no limit on price.

The cost of test kits is enough to keep many people from getting tested at home, and long lines and distant locations may make in-person testing inaccessible as well.

For the roughly 150 million Americans with private health insurance, at least one barrier to testing is broken down through this policy.

People on Medicare Part A are still not able to get their at-home COVID-19 tests reimbursed through the program, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (although they are eligible to order a batch of free tests through

However, if you have Medicare Part B — including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan — you are eligible to get eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each calendar month until the COVID-19 public health emergency order ends. So far, the public health emergency order is set to expire in January of 2023.

Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program plans are already required to fully cover the cost of at-home tests.

More free tests will be home-delivered starting in December

Americans with private insurance are able to order tests through pharmacy retailers like CVS and Walgreens.

For those without insurance, the Biden administration announced on December 15, that US households are once again able to order free at-home COVID-19 tests through The administration previously paused this program in September. Each household is limited to four at-home tests, and the orders will begin to ship before Christmas this year.

The Biden administration will also be distributing free at-home tests to 6,500 Department of Housing and Urban Development-assisted rental housing properties and up to 500 major food banks.

Read the original article on Business Insider