Jan 18, 2022
The federal government has launched an online resource to order free rapid COVID-19 tests. Each American household is entitled to free rapid COVID-19 tests, which can be ordered online at COVIDtests.gov. At the outset of the program, each household will be limited to four testing kits, which will be shipped for free to homes via the United States Postal Service. Ordering is as simple as entering your name and address.
There is no cost to obtain the tests, which will be mailed 7-12 days after ordering. While initial orders for free tests are capped at four per household, residents may independently purchase rapid antigen tests from local retailers and have up to eight covered by their health insurance for each person on their plan.
Additionally, residents can find local PCR testing options online by clicking here.
Additional information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services have provided more information.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has provided the answers to several frequently asked questions about the new program:
Who can order tests as part of this program?
Tests are available for every residential address in the U.S., including U.S. Territories and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO).
How can I order tests and when?
Tests can be ordered online at COVIDtests.gov. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days of ordering. To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address. No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may also share your email address to get updates on your order.
When should I use my tests?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you take an at-home test:
- If you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
- At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or
- When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.
- For more on when to use at-home tests, see the latest CDC self-testing guidance.
Is there a limit to how many tests I can order?
Yes. To promote broad access, the initial program will only allow four free individual tests per residential address.
Can I order more tests if I live in a large or multi-generational household?
No. To promote broad access, the initial program will only allow four free individual tests per residential address. There are numerous other options to get tested for free, including over 20,000 free testing sites across the country. If you have health insurance, your insurance will also cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home tests (up to eight at-home tests per month for each person on your plan).
Can I choose what type or brand of test I get?
All tests distributed as part of this program are FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests. You will not be able to choose the brand you order as part of this program.
When will I get my tests and how will they be delivered?
These tests will be delivered in the mail through the U.S. Postal Service. Tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. All orders within the continental US will be sent through First-Class Package Service. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) will be sent through Priority Mail.
Will I be able to track when my order status?
Yes. There is an option for you to provide an email address to receive email notifications with shipping updates. Once your order is shipped, you will receive an email with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. You can track the status of your delivery on USPS.com.
All orders within the continental United States will be sent through First-Class Package Service. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and overseas military and diplomatic addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) will be sent through Priority Mail.
Can I pick up my tests somewhere or have them held at my local Post Office instead of getting them shipped to my home?
No. This program is designed to send free tests to your home through the mail.
Who do I contact if I ordered my tests but they have not been delivered?
To get help with a delivery issue, please contact USPS.
Will my tests come with instructions on how to use them?
Yes. Tests will have instructions on how to use them.