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Free At-Home Covid Test Kits Website Launches Early – Forbes Advisor

You Can Now Order Free At-Home Covid-19 Tests. Here’s How
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American families can now order free rapid Covid-19 tests from COVIDTests.gov. The website launched a day earlier than expected to “handle troubleshooting”.

The initiative is meant to protect people from severe disease, the White House says, and is part of a multi-pronged strategy that includes adding federal tests, free N95 masks and pop-up vaccination sites, with Americans compensating for up to eight home tests per month through their insurance. However, some Experts say 500 million tests are not close enough to what is needed to help limit the spread of the Omicron variant.

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How to order quick home tests for Covid-19

visit COVIDTests.gov To order your test kits. No credit card needed to order. Clicking the button to request your tests will send you to the USPS page which will ask for your name and the address of where you want the tests sent.

Each family can request up to four tests in total for valid residential addresses. If a member of the same household attempts to request more tests in their name, the request will be rejected.

There are reports of difficulties in applying, especially for tenants who live in large apartment buildings. According to Berkeleyside, a nonprofit news organization in Berkeley, California, some people who live in multi-unit apartment buildings or duplexes are barred from requesting tests after other residents in other units have submitted requests. People who live in duplexes also face problems.

A USPS spokesperson told Berkeleyside it sees “very limited” cases where multi-unit addresses prevent people from ordering their tests. If you experience such issues, you can submit a help request online or call the help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Tests usually ship within 7 to 12 days of ordering, but that time frame may shrink as the program gains momentum. The US Postal Service says delivery will begin in late January. Families that do not have an internet connection will be able to request their exams through the communication line, which were not available at the time of writing.

The CDC recommends Americans use tests at home if they start showing symptoms, or get tested at least five days after coming into contact with someone who has had the virus. It is also recommended that those who congregate indoors with others at risk of serious illness, or who are not vaccinated, get themselves tested beforehand.

The waiting time for tests for shipment and delivery means families should not wait until they show symptoms to order their free tests; They should order it as soon as possible to have it on hand.

Home kits provide the convenience and opportunity to mitigate community spread by enabling testing in your home, but until this move by the federal government, it wasn’t cheap and was hard to find.

As the Omicron variant has caused an increase in infections, there are reports of at-home test kits being sold across the country. An analysis of Covid-19 testing availability from January 3 to January 10 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that home Covid-19 tests were not available 91% of the time.

If you are lucky enough to get one from a local store, at-home test kits are eligible medical expenses that can be paid for or reimbursed under Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health FSAs, Health Compensation Arrangements (HRAs) and Savings Accounts Archer MSAs. From January 15, insurers are required to reimburse consumers for the costs of up to eight home Covid tests per person per month.

But research shows that people who would benefit most from an HSA to help cover higher medical costs, including low-income, Hispanic Americans, are significantly less likely than their white and higher-income counterparts to have access to these compounds. Free tests could in theory help ease this burden on low-income Americans.

Researchers at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute are also critical of the insurance reimbursement mandate.

“Funding these tests through a cumbersome reimbursement process is about the most ineffective, unfair and costly tactic the United States can take,” said a blog post from the institute’s Center for Health Insurance Reform. Researchers point out that not all families have the financial means to cover the initial costs and wait for payment.

As of January 14, there are currently 20,000 federal testing sites across the United States, with more opening each week, according to the White House. The Defense Production Act is still in effect, allowing the state to quickly produce as many tests as possible.

According to the CDC, the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 is to get vaccinated. Visit Vaccines.gov to find a vaccination center near you.

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