Federal website to launch next week; Americans can request 4 free at-home Covid tests

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Update: The website is live one day early, January 18.


Starting on Jan. 19, the website COVIDTests.gov will provide tests at no cost, including no shipping fee, the White House announced Friday.


To help ensure Americans have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden Administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free. A half-billion tests will be available for order on January 19 and will be mailed directly to American households.


However Americans shouldn’t expect a rapid turn-around on the orders, as  tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. They will ship via USPS, which is reporting shipping times of 1-3 days for a first-class package.


You will have to plan ahead and request the tests well before you feel sick or need the test.


If you can find a home test in your city, you will soon be reimbursed for it. Starting on Saturday, private insurance companies will be required to cover the cost of at-home rapid tests, allowing Americans to be reimbursed for tests they purchase at pharmacies and online retailers. That covers up to eight tests per month.


To ensure equity and access for all Americans, the Administration will also launch a call line to help those unable to access the website to place orders, and work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests.