There was a period when finding a rapid COVID-19 test was as difficult as finding a penny in a 400-acre forest. When cases exploded in late 2021 as part of the omicron surge, pharmacies and online retailers quickly ran out of home testing kits. This left many Americans in the frustrating position of delaying holiday and travel plans or waiting in long lines for PCR tests to get answers about their health
Once the omicron surge died down, rapid COVID-19 tests became a lot easier to find, but they also remained expensive. And while insurance companies are now required to reimburse enrollees for at-home test kits, the reimbursement process can be cumbersome.
Many people have called for lawmakers to make rapid COVID-19 tests free, the same way people can get a PCR test at no charge. But while the Biden administration isn’t making rapid tests free across the board, it is giving Americans another opportunity to score a limited number of at-home tests at no cost.
Another round of free testing is coming
In January, all Americans could order a pack of four rapid COVID-19 tests that would be mailed to their homes. And many people took advantage of that offer. Now the Biden Administration is making another round of rapid COVID-19 tests free for Americans. Starting next week, you can visit COVIDTests.gov or call 800-232-0233 and request another four test kits. Those kits could then ship out within seven to 12 days.
Unfortunately, the four-kit limit per household will still apply for this round of free tests. For larger families, that could be a source of aggravation. After all, it doesn’t really help if a family of six has been exposed to COVID-19, but only four of six can get tested.
But at least the Biden Administration is fulfilling its promise to make testing easier to come by. Furthermore, families whose needs exceed the four-test limit may now more easily find rapid tests at pharmacies.
It pays to get those free tests
While insurance providers are now required to reimburse for rapid COVID-19 tests, that doesn’t mean enrollees won’t spend any money on them. The current rules dictate that insurance companies must reimburse participants $12 per test. So if a test costs more than that, those purchasing the test have to cover the difference.
That’s not ideal, because Americans are facing higher living costs across the board due to rampant inflation. Many people are dipping into savings accounts or running up large tabs on their credit cards just to stay afloat.
Having to pay any amount for a COVID-19 test could be a source of financial stress for many households. Thankfully, Americans will at least get a second free round of test kits that won’t involve any cost.
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