Free At-Home COVID Tests: What You Need To Know

January 20, 2022

Starting Saturday, January 15th, 150 million Americans who have private health insurance will be eligible to receive free at-home COVID testing kits through a new federal requirement.

After purchasing a test online or in a pharmacy, those with private insurance plans will be eligible to seek reimbursement from their insurance company. This includes both those with employer-sponsored health insurance and those who have purchased their plan on the Affordable Health Care’s marketplace.

Some insurers may recommend preferred providers who will front the costs of the at-home testing kits, but if not, reimbursement can be requested from your insurer. Be sure to keep your receipts, as they will be required for reimbursement.

How many kits can I purchase?

The new federal requirement allows each individual to have up to 8 kits per month (so a family of 4 would be eligible for up to 32 kits) reimbursed or paid for by their insurer. While all of these kits can be submitted to insurance for reimbursement, be sure to check with your insurer about where you purchase your tests because that may impact your reimbursement rate.  If you purchase outside of a preferred network set by your insurer, you may be capped at a reimbursement rate of $12 per test kit.

What if I don’t have private health insurance?

Free at-home COVID tests kits will be available for those without private health coverage. The federal government purchased 500 million testing kits that are available by request for home delivery. You can request your kits by mail at In addition, another 50 million kits will be sent to community centers and Medicare-certified health clinics across the country.

At this time, Medicare cannot offer reimbursement for at-home kits; however, Medicare Advantage Plans may so you should check with your plan for further details. Medicaid and CHIP recipients should contact their state program for more information as coverage rules may vary by state.

What if I bought a test kit before January 15th?

Insurers are not required by the federal government to reimburse you for test kits purchased prior to January 15th. Some insurers may opt to reimburse you for these kits, however, so if you held onto your receipts, be sure to call your insurer and ask about reimbursement.