WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has launched a website where anybody in the U.S. can sign up to have four free COVID-19 tests sent to their home.
Sign-ups begin Wednesday, according to the site.
The tests have been in short supply for the past several months as COVID cases tied to the highly contagious omicron variant have surged and people traveled for the holiday season.
The federal government is limiting the number of tests any household can order due to projected high demand. Four tests can be shipped per household, not per person.
The White House said when announcing this plan that more tests could go out at some point to each household, but that depends on supply.
But these tests are not designed to be shipped out to your house once you start feeling sick.
The White House says “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service.
Americans will need to request the tests well before they meet the guidelines for requiring them since USPS shipping times are at least 1-3 days. The tests should be ordered and kept until somebody in your household starts to feel sick with COVID-like symptoms.
Those symptoms include fever, sore throat, respiratory issues and muscle aches.
You should also be tested a few days after you've had close contact with somebody who has contracted COVID-19.
If you don't want to wait until the tests are shipped to your home, you can pick some up at a pharmacy under your insurance.
As of Jan. 15, private insurers were required by the Biden administration to cover the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month, per insured person.
People seeking to take that option can buy the tests themselves, then seek reimbursement from their insurance provider. Although there are reportedly plans in the works between insurers and pharmacies to cover the out-of-pocket costs of getting a test, those plans have not found widespread traction yet.