BETHESDA, MD – A new website from the Federal Government allows Americans to order free COVID-19 tests.
COVIDTests.gov opened January 18 in what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called a “beta phase,” with the formal launch set for January 19. The site will allow every household to order up to four free at-home COVID-19 tests.
“We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two, but the best tech teams across the administration and the Postal Service are working hard to make this a success,” Psaki said.
The tests are part of the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to help tackle a record surge in infections. The site’s launch comes on the heals of changes to incentivize insurers and group health plans to allow people to easily obtain at-home tests.
Beginning January 15, insurance companies and group health plans are required to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests. The new coverage requirement means most consumers with private health coverage can but a test online or at pharmacy or store and either get it paid for upfront by their health plan or get reimbursed for the cost by submitting a claim to their plan.
This new requirement allows individuals to purchase up to eight tests per month.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, we are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost,” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Since we took office, we have more than tripled the number of sites where people can get COVID-19 tests for free, and we’re also purchasing half a billion at-home, rapid tests to send for free to Americans who need them. By requiring private health plans to cover people’s at-home tests, we are further expanding Americans’ ability to get tests for free when they need them.”
PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit. Tests purchased through COVIDTests.gov will begin shipping toward the end of January.
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