You have one shot left at the final round of free at-home COVID tests. The program to deliver tests through the U.S. Postal Service ends Friday, Sept. 2.
The federal government first started offering eight free at-home COVID tests per household in January and allowed another order this spring.
Now the Biden administration is encouraging residents who haven’t yet claimed a third round of eight free at-home tests to do so before the program ends.
How to Get 8 More Free COVID Tests
The free rapid antigen tests the government is offering deliver results in 30 minutes. PCR tests aren’t available. Tests ship within seven to 12 days, according to the website.
Signing up for your free tests is incredibly simple. All you need to do is go to covid.gov/tests and provide your name and address, plus an email address if you want shipping notifications. And that’s it.
The U.S. Postal Service will deliver the tests. You can currently order eight free tests for each residential address, no matter how many people live there.
What About the 8 Free Tests Insurers Have to Provide?
Health insurance companies are required to cover eight home tests per month for each person covered by the plan. Depending on your health insurance, you may need to pay out of pocket for the tests and submit a receipt for reimbursement.
You can access free tests for your household using the federal government’s website regardless of whether you have health insurance. The website doesn’t ask for insurance information, and no upfront payment is required.
What if I Can’t Wait for My Test?
If you can’t wait a week or two for your free tests and you have private insurance, you can pay for a home test and then get reimbursed for any upfront payment. Tests are now widely available at drug stores and pharmacies.
You can also access free and low-cost tests through a community testing center. To find a site, use HHS.gov’s testing center locator.
Will Free At-Home COVID Tests Be Available Again Soon?
There’s no guarantee the program will resume even if COVID rates climb again. While the CDC indicated it would like to continue the initiative, Congress didn’t approve the funding.
The federal government spent billions to purchase 1 billion at-home COVID tests to distribute for free.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected]. Kaz Weida, a senior writer with The Penny Hoarder, contributed.