12/15/22 Update: free mail delivery orders have resumed on the USPS COVID test order website and deliveries will restart the week of 12/19/22. There is a limit of one order per residential address. Each order will include 4 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. The Biden administration was able to reappropriate previous COVID funds and stockpiled tests for this new round of delivery, but it’s not clear how many tests have been allocated or how long this round of free tests will last. Before placing new orders, look into COVID-19 test shelf-life extensions on any old kits you still have to see if they are still viable.
9/2/2022 Update: the funding for COVID test shipments from the USPS has been depleted, and the USPS has at least temporarily suspended shipping tests. I recently explored the common question: “Are COVID tests still free?“. The answer is that it depends on your insurance status and local availability. I highlight all of the possibilities in that article. Related note: you can still get free COVID vaccines, but funding is running out and this could change soon.
Confirmed new COVID cases are back on the upswing, because… of course they are. To help combat the recent uptick, U.S. households are now eligible to place a
3rd 4th order for free COVID tests. Back in January, I wrote about the 3 ways to get free COVID tests in the United States: through insurance reimbursement, at local testing sites (e.g. pharmacies, labs, etc.), and by ordering via mail through the USPS. The most popular of the 3 methods for many has been to order the tests from the federal government through the USPS, but the number of free tests was originally limited to 4 per residential address. Back in March, U.S. households could order a 2nd round of free COVID tests per residential address through the USPS. And U.S. households can now order a 3rd 4th round of free COVID tests through the USPS.
The government’s covidtests.gov site now states:
Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests.
When you click over to the USPS COVID test order site to place your order, your are now told that you will get 4 tests (instead of the previous amount of 8):
Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from USPS.com. Here’s what you need to know about your order:
- Limit of one order per residential address
- One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests (COVID.gov/tests has more details about at-home tests, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates)
- Orders will ship free starting the week of December 19, 2022
Should You Place a 4th Order for Free COVID Tests?
If you need tests, definitely order them. Personally, I’m still on my first order and won’t be placing an order right now. Use your own discretion, but note that if households with a stash of tests all put in 3rd orders it could slow down processing times for households where there is a more urgent need. Check the potentially extended shelf-life (info. above) to see if any currently held test kits are still viable before placing a new order.