You can now order free at-home COVID tests via the U.S. Postal Service: Here's how

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The United States Postal Service is now taking orders for COVID at-home testing kits.

Residential households in the U.S. who place an order can expect to receive four rapid antigen COVID-19 tests free of charge. According to the USPS, the kits are expected to begin shipping later this month.

Kits can be ordered by visiting https://special.usps.com/testkits. There will be a limit of one order per residential address.

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The expansion of testing capacity comes amid surging COVID-19 cases nationwide due to the omicron variant. In York County, a federal strike force was dispatched to WellSpan York Hospital to assist local medical staff.

The federal government has already secured more than 420 million tests to distribute to the public, with another 1 billion expected in the coming weeks.

The Biden administration has said the tests are expected to ship within seven to 12 days of ordering.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at-home testing when people experience COVID-19 systems including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms and muscle aches; five days after a potential COVID-19 exposure; or as part of test-to-stay protocols in schools and workplaces.

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Private insurers are also required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month per insured person, according to a new Biden administration rule.

People can buy tests at a store or online, then seek reimbursement from their health insurance provider. Insurers are being incentivized to work with pharmacies and retailers to develop plans to cover the cost of the tests with no out-of-pocket cost to customers, but those programs will not be immediately widespread.

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Those with public health insurance through Medicare, or without insurance, will be directed to covidtests.gov to order tests or to community health centers in their area offering free testing.

Reimbursement procedures will differ from insurer to insurer, but the Biden administration encouraged Americans to save receipts from rapid test purchases for later reimbursement and to reach out to their insurance providers for more information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.