Home Coronavirus Factbox: How Americans Can Get Free COVID-19 Tests Promised By Biden

Factbox: How Americans Can Get Free COVID-19 Tests Promised By Biden


Americans will be able to order free COVID-19 tests online beginning Jan. 19, part of a plan by President Joe Biden to distribute 1 billion at-home rapid kits to fight the spread of the Omicron variant.

Here’s how the rollout will work.


Starting Jan. 19, U.S. households can initially order up to four free COVID tests online at www.COVIDTests.gov. The four-test limit was set to “ensure broad access” amid a testing shortage across the United States, the White House says.

The Biden administration will also launch a call line to help Americans unable to access the website to place orders, and will work with community-based groups to support hard-hit areas in requesting tests.


The administration will work with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to package and deliver tests, which it says will usually ship seven to 12 days after being ordered.

The administration says it will prioritize processing orders “to households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly during this Omicron surge.”

Biden has pledged to purchase 1 billion at-home tests for Americans, and an administration official said on Friday that he may order even more. read more

The U.S. government has awarded contracts already for more than 420 million tests, and additional contracts will be awarded over the coming weeks, the White House said.


In addition to launching the free test drive, the Biden administration is requiring health insurers to cover the cost of at-home testing kits for Americans, beginning Jan. 15.

Insurance companies and health plans will be required to cover eight tests per covered individual per month, the White House said.

Tests have been difficult for many Americans to find, driven in part by rapid test supply shortages as well as staffing shortages at the urgent care centers, pop-up sites and pharmacies that administer the tests.

Staffing at the laboratories that process the more complex PCR tests has also become a factor, frustrating many seeking to know quickly whether they are infected with COVID-19.

Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Rami Ayyub, Editing by Heather Timmons, Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis