Here’s how you can get free Covid-19 home tests
Have you tried getting a free at-home test from your dealer? Have you called your insurer to request reimbursement? Talk to us at [email protected]
Most Americans with private insurance can purchase home tests online or in stores and have them paid for at the time of purchase or reimbursed by submitting a claim to their insurer. So be sure to keep your receipts.
Testing will not be subject to copayments or deductibles.
Insurers can set up a network of preferred stores, pharmacies and online retailers where consumers can receive tests at no upfront cost. People could still buy tests outside of this network, but insurers would only have to reimburse up to $12 for each.
Consumers should contact their insurers to find out if they provide direct coverage or if claims need to be submitted.
Do I need a prescription or a doctor’s prescription?
No, you will not need to see a doctor to get the free tests.
How many tests can I take?
Insurers must pay for up to eight tests per covered person per month. So a family of four could have 32 tests each month, for example.
What about all the tests I bought before Saturday? Can I get them reimbursed?
Sorry, but only tests purchased from January 15 are eligible.
Where can I find a home test?
It’s one of the reasons the Biden administration plans to hand out free home tests soon. President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he was doubling the number that will be available to 1 billion.
Several states have also ordered home tests to be distributed to residents free of charge, 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 the tests, starting January 19. Tests should ship within seven to 12 days of ordering.
Initially, there will be a limit of four tests per residential household.
The White House will also set up a hotline for those who cannot order online but has not yet announced a launch date.
What if I’m on Medicare?
Medicare covers Covid-19 lab tests free of charge when ordered by a medical professional.
People enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans should check with their insurer if the costs of home testing will be covered.
What if I’m on Medicaid?
Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program, known as CHIP, already cover home testing without cost sharing.
But enrollees should contact their state agencies for specific coverage details.
What if I’m not insured?
Uninsured people can get free home tests at some community health centers. They can also request testing through the federal program once it becomes available.
Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services is providing up to 50 million free home tests to community health centers and Medicare-certified health clinics for distribution to patients and the community.
HHS has also established more than 10,000 free community pharmacy testing sites across the country.
This story was updated with additional details on Friday.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.