Here’s How To Get Your Free COVID-19 Test Kits

Starting Jan. 19, each household is entitled to four kits from the government

Man holding COVID-19 test kit
•••

Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images

The government is giving free COVID-19 tests to U.S. households starting next week. To get one, you have to sign up online or make a call. 

The website, www.covidtests.gov, will be available for ordering beginning Jan. 19, the White House said Friday. The tests are expected to ship, via U.S. mail, 7-12 days after you place your order, and each mailing address is entitled to four, officials said. There also will be a phone number for people who can’t get online, but that number had not been announced as of Friday.

The Biden administration plans to send out 1 billion at-home test kits as part of a program to help blunt the latest surge of virus cases. In addition, the government has mandated that as of Jan. 15 private insurance companies must cover the cost of at-home test kits people get elsewhere. That could help cover the significant cost of regular testing, which, according to one recent analysis, would run about $728 a year for a person using the cheapest kits and testing twice a week.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.