9/25/23 Update: free mail delivery orders have resumed on the USPS COVID test order website and deliveries will restart on 9/25/23. There is a limit of one order per residential address. Each order will include 4 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. Orders will ship free starting the week of October 2, 2023. 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.
12/19/22 Update: a new round of free mail delivery orders of 4 new test kits have temporarily resumed until funds are depleted.
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 new order for free COVID tests. I originally covered 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 of 2022, U.S. households could order a 2nd round of free COVID tests per residential address through the USPS. Then, starting in December of 2022, U.S. households could order a 3rd round of free COVID tests. Now, as of September 25, 2023, U.S. households can order new round of free COVID tests through the USPS.
The government’s covidtests.gov site now states:
Every U.S. household may place an order to receive four free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to your home.
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:
As of September 25, 2023, residential households in the U.S. can order one set of #4 free at-home tests from USPS.com again. 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 (COVIDTests.gov has more details about at home tests, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates)
Should You Place an 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.