Updated Sep 20, 2023 - Health

U.S. to reopen program sending free COVID tests through the mail

Photo Illustration: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Biden administration is reopening a program mailing free COVID-19 tests to households who request them and is investing $600 million into boosting test manufacturing.

Why it matters: More Americans will again have access to free at-home COVID-19 tests after the expiration of the public health emergency this spring meant many insurers no longer had to fully cover the cost.

  • The announcement comes as COVID hospitalizations have continued creeping up, passing 20,000 for the first time since March, according to ABC News.

Details: Starting Sept. 25, households can order four free tests through COVIDTests.gov.

  • HHS said the tests are intended for use through the end of 2023 and will come with instructions on how people can verify if the tests' expiration date has been extended.
  • The Biden administration said it expects to secure about 200 million tests from its new investments in 12 U.S. manufacturers.
  • Federal health officials last month said they still have a large number of tests in the Strategic National Stockpile, but they did not specify how many remain.
  • The administration has been sending some of those tests to places serving vulnerable populations, such as federally qualified health centers and assisted-living facilities.
  • The Biden administration says it's previously provided more than 755 million at-home tests through its partnership with the U.S. Postal Service.

Go deeper: How to check if old or expired COVID-19 tests still work

Go deeper