Here’s how you can get free home Covid-19 tests

The program is part of the Biden administration’s effort to increase access to testing across the United States. It will also distribute free home tests, which will be available to order starting next Wednesday.

Most Americans with private insurance can buy home tests online or in stores and pay for them at the time of purchase or get reimbursed by filing a claim with their insurance company. So be sure to save your receipts.

Tests will not be subject to participation or discounts.

Insurance companies may establish a network of preferred stores, pharmacies, and online retailers where consumers can receive tests at no upfront cost. People can still buy tests outside of that network, but insurance companies only have to pay up to $12 per test.

Consumers should contact their insurance companies to see if they offer direct coverage or if claims should be submitted.

Do I need a medical order or prescription?

No, you do not need to visit a doctor to get free checkups.

How many tests can I get?

Insurance companies must pay up to eight tests per covered individual per month. So a family of four could take 32 tests each month, for example.

What about all the tests I bought before Saturday? Can I get compensation for them?

Sorry, but only tests purchased starting January 15th are eligible.

Where can I find a home test?

Finding home tests has proven to be a challenge in many parts of the country, even as retailers limit how many a single customer can buy.

It’s one of the reasons the Biden administration plans to distribute free home tests soon. President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will double the number that will be available to one billion.

Several states have also ordered home tests to be distributed free of charge to residents, but supplies have been limited.

How do I get one of these free federal tests?

Americans can go to a new website, covidtests.gov, to order tests, starting January 19. Tests are expected to be shipped within seven to 12 days of the order date.

Initially, there will be a limit of four tests per household.

The White House will also set up a hotline for those who can’t order online but haven’t yet announced a launch date.

What if I’m on Medicare?

Medicare covers lab tests for Covid-19 free of charge when requested by a medical professional.

Those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans should check with their insurance companies to see if the costs of home tests will be covered.

What if I have Medicaid?

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance, known as CHIP, covers home tests without sharing costs.

But registrants must contact their state agencies for specific coverage details.

What if you are not insured?

Uninsured people can get free home checks from some community health centers. They can also order tests through the federal program as soon as it becomes available.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also providing up to 50 million free home tests to Medicare-accredited community health centers and health clinics for distribution to patients and the community.

HHS has also created more than 10,000 free community pharmacy testing sites across the country.

Additional information about the test for the uninsured is available at hhs.gov.

This story was updated with additional details on Friday.

CNN’s Megan Vasquez contributed to this report.


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