CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People in the United States can now order four more free, at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government as part of the Biden administration's effort to increase testing after the omicron surge.
The tests can be ordered from COVIDtests.gov in a program that's being run in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service. Just like the first round of at-home test ordering, entering a U.S. home address will create a free order for four tests. Households that already received a package of tests are eligible to order a second set.
President Joe Biden announced the additional tests during his State of the Union speech last week.
A reporter with NBC News successfully ordered a second batch of tests Monday, though a message on the website still advises those who ordered tests before to "check back later" to place a second order.
Starting Jan. 15, private insurance companies and health plans are required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests every month for each person covered under the policy, according to the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). For example, a family of four will be able to get up to 32 tests per month if they are all on the same insurance plan.
The Biden administration says it is incentivizing insurers and group health plans to set up programs that allow people to get the tests directly at pharmacies, retailers or other entities with no out-of-pocket costs. This means insurers would cover the costs upfront, which would eliminate the need for individuals to submit a claim for reimbursement. There is no limit on the number of tests that are covered if they were ordered by a health care provider, according to HHS. This includes at-home tests.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions reporting on and engaging the community around the problems and solutions as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.