Government Website For Ordering Free At-Home COVID Tests Goes Live 1 Day Early


Americans can now start ordering free at-home tests from the federal government after the White House announced last week an effort to give away 500 million rapid tests to address nationwide shortages.

The federal government had said Americans would be able to start ordering tests on Wednesday, Jan. 19, but people were able to place orders online one day earlier. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Tuesday that a “beta testing phase” of the ordering site had gone live as a way to test the system before a full rollout Wednesday. It’s not yet known whether orders will continue to be accepted throughout the day or if they will be cut off sometime before Wednesday’s official launch.

The Biden administration also announced last week that starting Jan. 15, private health insurers are required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans.

Several questions remain as some details appear to still be in the works. Here’s what we have found out about and what’s still unclear.

The website will provide tests at no cost, including no shipping fee. You can get four tests per home.

The government also said it will offer a toll free number where people will be able to order. It’s one of the ways it’s hoping to ensure equity in the process, especially to communities most vulnerable, but as of Monday, a phone number has not been listed yet.