Medical Technology

Fed Website for COVID-19 Free Tests opens January. 19

Jan. 15, 2022 — Americans will be able to order free, at-home rapid COVID-19 tests online at COVIDTests.govstarting Jan. 19.

Senior officials from the Biden Administration of President Joe Biden said Friday that the tests will be delivered within 7 to 12 business days after they are ordered. The U.S. Postal Service will handle the shipping and delivery of first-class mail.

According to NPR the website’s homepage, customers enter their name and address on the website. They can also share an email address to receive notifications regarding their order. According to the website’s homepage users won’t need to pay shipping costs nor enter their credit card numbers to purchase tests.

The website will be available in English and Spanish. The Biden administration will also create a phone number for those who do not have internet access to place orders.

Officials didn’t specify the exact date when the website would go live according to The New York Times . They only said that it would be launched on Wednesday. Each household can order four tests.

On Saturday, people with private insurance will also be able to request reimbursement for the tests they purchase on their own. The newspaper reported that insurers claimed it could take weeks for the system to smooth out reimbursement.

The announcement on Friday is the latest in Obama’s pledge to offer coronavirus testing to Americans. In December, Biden said his administration would purchase 500 million tests and give them to Americans for free. On Thursday, he announced that the administration would buy another 500 million tests, bringing the total to 1 billion.

According to the newspaper, contracts have been signed by the administration so far for more than 420 million tests. The website will be available next week. Due to delays in shipping, the tests are expected to arrive by the end of January. This could happen after the peak in coronavirus cases in certain areas of the country.

Tests at home are popular, with certain pharmacies, retailers and websites having no inventory in recent weeks. People have waited hours at testing centers in the community to be tested, as the national average daily case load has risen to more than 800,000.

Some consumers have also been confused about how or when to take home tests. On Friday, Biden administration officials said that people should take rapid tests for three reasons:

  • If they begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19

  • after at least five days following being exposed to someone who has a positive test

  • if they are gathering indoors with a high-risk individual and want to confirm if they are negative.

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