Free At-Home Rapid COVID-19 Tests Available To Order Today, A Day Earlier Than Scheduled

The limit is four tests per household.

Updated 2:05 PM

The Biden Administration has purchased one billion at-home COVID-19 rapid tests, and Americans can order them for free with a kick-off date beginning today.

The site is active now and appears to be working.

There will be 500 million tests available through the initial ordering process. Individuals can order their tests online at COVIDTests.gov, and the Administration says they will start shipping them within 7-12 days of ordering.

The website went live last week but the ordering function was not scheduled to start working till tomorrow. The administration apparently decided switch it on sooner than the announced start time.

Shipping is free, and there is no need to enter credit card information. The initial program permits the ordering of four free tests per household. The White House also says that a call line will also be launched so those without access to the internet will be able to place orders.

The administration has also pledged to prioritize processing testing orders to communities experiencing the highest COVID-19 cases and mortality as part of a commitment to take into account health inequities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. The administration announcement about the testing program says it will work with “local organizations with deep experience serving communities of color, people living with disabilities, and other high-risk communities to serve as navigators, raise awareness about the program, and help people submit requests.”

Increasing the availability of at home tests comes at a critical time when COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations are high, with the omicron variant accounting for approximately 98% of cases in the United States according to the latest CDC data. The administration also announced that private health insurance companies are required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free starting Jan. 15, 2022. It has also made an additional 10 million tests available to schools nationwide. Private insurers are required to cover eight at-home tests per covered individual per month. However, that requirement leaves out uninsured Americans and those covered by Medicare.

With the high demand of COVID-19 tests and limited availability through retailers, the launch of free tests through the Biden Administration’s efforts may help many families across the nation. However, a variety of issues may arise.

Will the website crash as millions, maybe even tens of millions, order tests? (So far, so good, today.)

Will the wait times on the call lines be long?

The tests will be shipped via the United States Postal Service. Will the postal service be capable of reliably delivering the tests?

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 332 million individuals residing in the U.S. Will there be enough tests?

Will the people who need tests be able to get them?

Will the tests be easy enough to use?

Will they produce reliable results?

The answers to these and many more questions will become apparent over the next few days and weeks as the administration rolls out an unprecedented effort to have people test themselves and family members for a disease.