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At-Home COVID Tests Accessible to Select Americans


The White House’s first major initiative for the American people to obtain free at-home COVID tests came into effect on Saturday, January 15, 2022. In this initiative, private health insurers are required to repay members for up to eight test kits each month, according to WGN Chicago, therefore, these free tests are only available to select Americans.

Which Americans Included in At-Home COVID Test Initiative

This new policy is only applicable to people who have private health insurance. Unfortunately, approximately “28 million or 8.6% of Americans” who are uninsured are not included in this initiative.

Private health plans are obligated to cover over-the-counter tests, up to $12 per COVID test. Consumers can either receive “testing kits at no cost at participating pharmacies that their plan sets up or submit receipts for reimbursement from the insurance company,” reports USA Today.

In addition, Americans who are 65 years old and older and covered by Medicare, unfortunately, are not included in this initiative. Percentage-wise, this is “18.4% of Americans, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020.”

However, not all people with public health coverage have been left out. For example, people who receive Medicaid and children covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are also eligible for reimbursement, according to WGN Chicago.

Regarding people with CHIP or Medicaid coverage, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggests that they should get in touch with the Medicaid or CHIP agency in their state for details regarding at-home COVID tests because it is possible the rules vary by state.

If there are those who are uninsured, they could still receive free tests from some pharmacies and local community centers or through a federal website.

What to Look Forward to in the Future

Diverse Stock Photos (Flickr CC0)

The plan for the White House to distribute one billion at-home COVID tests to people freely is still in the works. However, it is predicted that in the future, people will have the ability to sign up to have a test mailed to them.

In addition, according to a message on COVIDTests.gov, where Americans can order the free tests, they are scheduled to ship out in late January. The United States Postal Service plans to deliver merely four free at-home COVID tests to valid residential addresses. 

Lastly, under the initiative, a family of five can be reimbursed for up to forty COVID tests each month. Rapid or PCR tests ordered or administered through a healthcare provider will continue to be covered by insurance without limit.

Written by Ke’Lena Thomas
Edited by Jeanette Vietti


WGN Chicago: Free at-home COVID tests: Here’s who isn’t covered under new program; by Alix Martichoux, Nexstar Media Wire
USA Today: Free COVID test kits are available through a government website. Here’s how to order the at-home tests; by Kelly Tyko and Maureen Groppe
USA Today: Insurance now covers at-home COVID testing kits. How to get free tests or reimbursement; by Kelly Tyko

Featured Image Courtesy of Subconsci Productions’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy Diverse Stock Photos’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


Cathrine Osborne, DM

Infectious Disease Physician

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