Key details about the new programs:
HOW CAN I REQUEST A FREE TEST?
Importantly, given the shipping and process times, Americans will need to request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for requiring a test.
WHEN SHOULD I TEST?
HOW MANY TESTS CAN I ORDER FROM THE WEBSITE?
IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO GET A TEST KIT FOR FREE?
Starting Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month per insured person, according to a new Biden administration rule.
People will have the option of buying tests at a store or online, then seeking reimbursement from their health insurance provider. Insurers are being incentivized to work with pharmacies and retailers to develop plans to cover the cost of the tests with no out-of-pocket cost to customers, but those programs will not be immediately widespread.
Those with public health insurance through Medicare, or without insurance, will be directed to covidtests.gov to order tests or to community health centers in their area offering free testing.
HOW WILL I BE REIMBURSED?
The Biden administration says the procedures will differ from insurer to insurer, and it is encouraging Americans to save receipts from rapid test purchases for later reimbursement and to reach out to their insurance providers for information.
Critically, the requirement only covers purchases on or after Saturday. Insurers are not expected to retroactively reimburse the cost of tests purchased earlier.
WHAT ARE OTHER TESTING OPTIONS?
The Biden administration is emphasizing that the website is just one tool for Americans to access COVID-19 testing. Millions of free tests are available at participating pharmacy locations, community health centers and
WHICH HOME TEST WILL I GET?
That will vary. The federal government has secured more than 420 million tests for distribution through covidtests.gov already, with plans to increase the order to 1 billion tests in the coming weeks. All of the tests supplied will be authorized by the
WHY IS BIDEN BUYING THESE TEST KITS?
It represents an acknowledgement by the president that the administration needs to do more to increase access to COVID-19 testing, which is an important tool to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In cases where infected people show symptoms or not, testing is the only way to find out if they have the virus so they can avoid being out and about and potentially spreading disease.
Demand for test kits soared as the holidays neared and people grew eager to test themselves and their families before traveling and as the omicron variant spread rapidly in just a few weeks to become the dominant strain in the
Biden's promise of 1 billion test kits is in addition to the administration's earlier pledge to send 50 million rapid tests to community health centers across the country.
HOW MUCH WILL THE PROGRAM COST?
WILL THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM MAKE IT HARDER FOR ME TO FIND A TEST AT THE DRUGSTORE?