How to order free COVID-19 at-home tests before program ends Friday
Citing a lack of funding and the need to keep some on hand, the Biden administration will end the free at-home test program
The federal government will stop providing free at-home COVID-19 tests after this week, citing inadequate funding and a need to keep some on hand in case there’s a case surge this fall.
This week is the last opportunity for households that have not already received three shipments of the tests to order them for home delivery by the Postal Service. They can be ordered at covidtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233. Both the tests and shipping are free.
The website notes that “ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, Sept. 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”
A White House senior official told CNN that “the administration would ‘expeditiously resume distribution of free tests through COVIDTests.gov’ if and when Congress allocates additional funding, but ‘until then, we believe reserving the remaining tests for distribution later this year is the best course.’”
NBC News quoted an unnamed senior official in the Biden administration about the need for funding and for more tests. “The administration has been clear about our urgent COVID-19 response funding needs,” the source said. “We have warned that congressional inaction would force unacceptable tradeoffs and harm our overall COVID-19 preparedness and response — and that the consequences would likely worsen over time.”
The administration had asked for $22.5 billion more for pandemic-related relief, but the funding wasn’t approved.
The U.S. Postal Service has been delivering COVID-19 tests since January and households have had a chance to order batches of tests three different times.
NPR reported that between January and May, 350 million tests had been shipped to 70 million households, “more than half the households in the U.S.”
NBC noted that most people will still “have the option of free testing or getting reimbursed through private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.”
But Axios reported that “consumers should prepare to soon pay for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines as the federal government prepares to shift costs back to health insurers.”