Ian Patrick, FISM News
The Biden administration recently unveiled its new website for Americans to access and order at-home COVID-19 tests as the Omicron variant continues to dominate COVID-19 cases in the United States. The site is scheduled to be up and running on Wednesday, January 19.
The government website is located at covidtests.gov and currently reads:
Every home in the U.S. can soon order #4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests will be completely free—there are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number.
According to a statement released by the White House, this website is in addition to the 375 million tests available in the U.S. market.
The website is part of the Biden administration’s plan to make COVID testing easy to acquire. The statement says that the administration struck a deal “with the United States Postal Service to package and deliver tests to Americans that want them.”
“All orders in the continental United States will be sent through First Class Package Service, with shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Territories and APO/FPO/DPO addresses sent through Priority Mail,” it added. USPS previously confirmed this deal saying they are “ready to deliver.”
The statement also added that it will attempt to especially reach the “hardest-hit and highest-risk communities,” which is later clarified to be “communities of color, people living with disabilities, and other high-risk communities.”
They will do this by “prioritizing processing orders to households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths.” The administration will also open a call line to help people process their orders.
The at-home tests will also be covered by those who have private health insurance.
On Monday, the Administration announced that, starting January 15th, private insurance companies will be required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests. This means consumers with private health insurance coverage will be able to get these tests for free. Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover eight free at-home tests per covered individual per month. That means a family of four, all on the same plan, would be able to get 32 of these tests covered by their health plan per month. As part of the requirement, the Administration is strongly incentivizing plans and insurers to allow people to get these tests directly through preferred pharmacies or retailers with no out-of-pocket costs, with the plan or insurer covering the cost upfront, eliminating the need for people to submit reimbursement claims.
The administration also announced 10 million more tests will be distributed to use in schools nationwide and that more federal testing sites will be going up in the near future.
This effort from the Biden administration is a way to push more free and accessible testing at a time when multiple organizations and employers, like healthcare facilities, have implemented vaccination mandates. These mandates require an employee to provide documentation that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative for COVID-19 every week.
The administration had initially announced that more tests would be available in December, but they had to push that deadline back until now.