2 Ways to Get Free COVID Tests in 2024 (From Insurance & Locally)

2024 update on free COVID tests: if you are here, you’re probably wondering Are COVID tests still free?. The answer is partially yes. Free COVID test kit mail delivery orders on the USPS COVID test order website was suspended effective March 8, 2024. It’s not clear if or when new funding will reactive this program. There are 2 other ways to get free COVID tests in 2024 that I’ll detail below. Also, Free COVID vaccines are still available, but the burden has shifted to insurance plans versus direct government funding.

How to Get Free COVID Tests in 2024

The U.S. government’s COVID test website – covidtests.gov – highlights 2 different COVID test options available at the moment.

1. Get Reimbursed by Your Health Insurer for At-Home Testing

If you don’t want to wait around for a USPS delivery, you can purchase your own test kit.

  • Test Type: rapid antigen, at-home self tests (no drop off).
  • Length of Time for Test Results: 30 minutes.
  • Insurance Status: insured individuals.
  • Quantity: up to 8 tests per insured person, per month (e.g. 3 insured persons x 8 tests = 24 tests per month)
  • How to Get a Free COVID Test: you can purchase online at retailers like Amazon (iHealth, QuickVue, and Abbott BinaxNow are good options) or buy at retail stores over-the-counter (OTC). Insurers are urged to set up networks where you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket. If you do, hold on to your receipt, and check with your insurer on their reimbursement process. Insurers are required to reimburse the full amount, up to $12 per test (so try to stay under that price, which is doable). More details found here. Confirm the details with your insurer.
  • When: currently active.
  • Thoughts: a good option for those who are insured, if they run out of the 4 free tests in option #1, and don’t want to wait for a USPS delivery, which is common.

2. Get a Free Rapid or PCR Test at Over 20,000 Testing Sites

  • Test Type: rapid antigen or PCR tests at a testing site.
  • Length of Time for Test Results: 30 minutes (rapid antigen) or up to 24 hours (PCR).
  • Insurance Status: insured (covered by your insurer) or uninsured (paid for by the federal Uninsured Program) individuals.
  • Quantity: no limit specified (as needed, seemingly).
  • How to Get a Free COVID test: start here to see what free testing sites are available locally.
  • When: currently active.

For more information on when to get tested for COVID, see the latest CDC guidance.

3. Get COVID Tests Mailed Directly from the USPS (NOW EXPIRED)

free COVID tests

  • Test Type: rapid antigen, at-home self tests (no drop-off).
  • Length of Time for Test Results: 30 minutes.
  • Insurance Status: insured or uninsured individuals.
  • Current Quantity of Tests you can Order: limit of 4 tests “per residential address” order.
  • How to Get a Free COVID Test: the tests must be requested at special.usps.com/testkits. You only need to submit your name and address (email address is optional for shipping confirmation and status updates). 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.
  • When: EXPIRED as of March 8, 2024.
  • Thoughts: This is the best and easiest method if you are stockpiling ahead of when you might need a test kit, but not the best if you need a quick COVID test result, since you have to wait for a sometimes slow USPS delivery.

Related Posts:

Where to Get Free or the Cheapest Flu Shots

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