Free at-home Covid test kits

Seems legit. There was also a story in today’s (Jan 18) USA Today referencing the same link. (


The web site,, is legitimate; as the banner says at the top it is in the .gov domain so it is pretty much impossible to fake a site (try for example; it’s not valid because it is not valid…)

Beware of links on other sites - the administration announced this a week ago (without the web site, which had not been set up) and I’m sure scammers and crackers were just waiting on the announcement to scam and crack.

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Seems to work, the button on the web page actually leads to COVID Home Tests | USPS, which can be used directly, although it is necessary to enable JavaScript to use it.

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:man_facepalming: That makes 0 sense.


Yeah, it’s a mess because the system is so complicated - not just lots of individual insurance companies but they operate under different rules and the administration has to work out a way to force each one to do something without getting sued (again :frowning: Here’s the white house/HHS announcement:

I only just heard about this (thank’s @CatLady!); I messaged my wife who is picking up prescriptions to see if she can persuade Walmart to hand over some test kits. I doubt it though; it seems like there is a massive supply problem. The four-for-free offer is probably the best bet for everyone.

Here’s the relevant paragraph from the HHS link above about other coverage:

State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs are currently required to cover FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests without cost-sharing. In 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration issued guidance explaining that State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs must cover all types of FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests without cost sharing under CMS’s interpretation of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2019 (ARP). Medicare pays for COVID-19 diagnostic tests performed by a laboratory, such as PCR and antigen tests, with no beneficiary cost sharing when the test is ordered by a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist, or other authorized health care professional. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan should check with their plan to see if their plan offers coverage and payment for at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests.

In other words free testing had already been made available for CHIP, Medicaid (free in-home tests) and Medicare (free lab tests - including PCR tests) in 2021, so the new stuff from January 15 extends this to people with company or personal (ACA, insurance but there may be some latitude in how insurance companies implement it and it probably doesn’t apply to the non-ACA plans that were introduced a couple of years ago.

I would guess that the administration will go to work on CMS coverage of at-home kits soon, but maybe they will just use the direct postal delivery - it avoids a fight with congress over whether the administration can change the Medicare rules in this way.

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I also found this slightly clearer description of the free test kit stuff from the Oregonian:

At the same time my wife is reporting that the number of test kits available may be limited to less than anticipated (heard on NPR while going to pick up prescriptions, details unclear…) You can see how the test kits are going on this US government web site:

The order site shows up at the top of the “Now” list, but based on my conjecture that “” is only getting hits corresponding to orders it looks like 32 million orders, corresponding to over 125 million test kits, have already been made (or, rather, attempted).

I think we will see supply chain problems; this is hardly new, people in the UK have been complaining for over a year now about the problems getting tests. With any luck given it’s enormously bigger buying power any problems in the US will be temporary (though of course that will cause problems in other countries :frowning:

BTW is apparently protected against online attacks of the type that have been taking down major online service providers over the last few months. It’s actually going through an Amazon service.

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Which is strange, because usually anything run by the government is a model of logic, sense, and efficiency. :roll_eyes:

Remember the thing a few years back when people who used Medicaid to get their Dexcom supplies were not allowed to use their phones as the receiver? Brilliant!


I’m still disappointed I missed out on the free toilet paper back at the start of the pandemic.


Still haven’t received my tests. It’s been almost 3 weeks.

Strange because usually anything done by the government is the model of efficiency. :roll_eyes:


I got mine last week. Much sooner than expected, which was very surprising, because there’s usually a 50/50 chance of mail not getting delivered here for a week at a time.


I’m probably on the government’s “watch list”. :joy:


“Probably” ?!? :rofl:


Ours haven’t arrived yet either. But, I did get a delivery of 8 that I ordered from amazon and have submitted for refund from insurance. BCBS has an online form that is simple to fill out and you can order 8 tests per family member per month … I’ve ordered 8 total for January and 8 for February. One child has to test each Monday morning before school (and they PCR on Thursdays), so I figure we should have enough for now.


My order hasn’t arrived either. It is a very large logistics problem; DeJoy said he could do it but that doesn’t mean he can or, indeed, that he wants to.

There seem to be very few online reports of the progress, none from reputable news organizations. Other reports are apocryphal, no more reliable than anything posted here. My own experience so far is that it’s 22 days since my order; DeJoy promised at most 12 days and 10 days for first class shipping indicates that hasn’t happened.

It’s probably particularly bad on the west coast - USPS has never delivered to the vast majority of the west coast and, while much of that is sparsely populated, in the valley where I live about two thirds of the mail drops are PO Boxes. Indeed, even the city hall doesn’t get USPS delivery and it is on the other side of the road from the Post Office!

That said it’s not clear any organization could have done this on the promised timescales.


Ours just arrived today (ordered on the first day possible).


We got ours today. But they are antigen tests. Not super helpful, particularly early in the infection.

Bad information is worse than no information.


Actually Mr DeJoy very much wants to as he is getting paid top dollar to deliver them - they are being paid priority mail rates and not a traditional less expensive parcel rate.

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Well, yesterday I tried to get a COVID-19 rapid antigen test kit. My insurance company will pay for up to 8 a month (up to $12 each) and states that I should be able to get the kits covered if I get them from an in-network pharmacy, although it is a little unclear as I have a HCLD HSA eligible plan. I went to my normal pharmacy (Walmart); they didn’t have any, they wouldn’t reserve any and they wouldn’t tell me of another Walmart which had them (turns out no Walmart in a 30+ mile radius had any). I went to CVS (in a different city), but they aren’t in-network, and said they didn’t do the insurance coverage either (something like, “we aren’t part of the free test-kit scheme”). Fred Meyer had test kits but wouldn’t bill insurance.

So I came home and checked Amazon; I’ve now got four kits (2x2) on order for $36, scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. My insurance company has three different PDFs to fill out for a refund depending on how I got the test kit, including one for online-non-pharmacy orders.

It seems like the pharmacies have dropped the ball here - they won’t bill insurance companies, or they simply don’t have test kits in their stores ( says to order online, the price of the above kit matches the Amazon price but no estimate of delivery (‘3+ days’), implying they aren’t in stock…)

It also seems like there is still a massive supply problem - my local Walmart carries the kits on the shelves but the shelves are always bare. The insurance company’s web pages say the same thing. However it’s difficult to know if it is a lack of supply or an unwillingness to supply, perhaps there isn’t enough mark-up for the pharmacy departments?

Is it supply, is it logistics, is it retail? Who knows? No one in the reputable media seems to be covering what is, and isn’t, going on.


The latest update from USPS:

Hello COVID Test Recipient ,
USPS expects to deliver your package by Friday, February 18, 2022 arriving by 9:00pm.

So that’s a month after I ordered it, and this is the first email update I received - no “your order is delayed” etc.