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How to get more free COVID-19 at-home tests

Through a partnership with Project ACT, eligible North Carolina residents can order up to five at-home COVID-19 tests free of charge each month.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Biden administration announced it will again make free COVID-19 tests available to all U.S. households as it unveils its contingency plans for potential coronavirus surges this winter. 

After a three-month hiatus, the administration is making four rapid virus tests available through covidtests.gov starting Thursday, Dec. 15. The rollout coincides with a federal push to distribute free at-home tests to more than 6,500 federally-supported rental properties housing seniors. 

In addition to the White House COVID tests, North Carolina residents are eligible to receive five free at-home COVID-19 tests each month through a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Rockefeller Foundation. 

Project ACT

Through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation's Project ACT, eligible North Carolina residents can order up to five at-home COVID-19 tests free of charge each month. Like the federal program, the shipping is also free.

Currently, 80 North Carolina counties are fully covered by the program and 13 additional counties are partially covered.

To select eligible locations, NCDHHS said they used a county's Social Vulnerability Index and analyzed zip codes for percent uninsured, median income and distance from other testing options.

Mecklenburg County is among the counties eligible, as of August.

Each shipment contains 5 tests fulfilled by Amazon. Residents can request additional tests starting on the first of each month. 

For ordering assistance, residents can also call 888-892-1162. 

Websites to order free at-home COVID tests

  • U.S. Government: COVID.gov/tests is open to all eligible U.S. residents
  • Rockefeller Foundation: accesscovidtests.org is open to eligible residents in Maine, NewCarolina, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, and New Mexico.

RELATED: FDA posts new expiration dates for some at-home COVID tests

U.S. government program

The latest and third round of the U.S. government's program provides eight tests.  Since the program began, households have been eligible for a total of 16 tests.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov.  

Assistance with the federal program is available via phone at 1-800-232-0233.

Insurance company reimbursement

In addition to ordering free tests online, free tests can also be made available through insurance companies. While some insurance companies have established pharmacies and stores for the distribution of tests to their cardholders, all health insurance companies are required to reimburse the cost of purchasing a COVID-19 test up to at least $12 per test. Check with your insurance company on their procedure for filing a claim and the receipts for reimbursement.

Community testing

Free testing is also available in many communities, including through companies like StarMed Healthcare, CVS, Walgreens, and others.

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