If you haven’t ordered your third round of free COVID-19 tests yet, you’ll want to take advantage of the benefit before Friday, September 2. A note on the federal government’s COVID-19 website states: “Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”
You can place orders on that website (covid.gov/tests), by phone at 1-800-232-0233, or by teletypewriter at 1-888-720-7489. Each order includes eight rapid antigen tests that will come in two separate packages, four to each package.
The Biden administration has decided to stockpile the remaining tests in preparation for a potential rise in infections in the fall and winter, USA Today reported. An unnamed senior official told NBC News that free tests may become available again sooner if Congress grants the necessary funding. “Until then, we believe reserving the remaining tests for distribution later this year is the best course,” the source said. “The administration has been clear about our urgent COVID-19 response funding needs. We have warned that congressional inaction would force unacceptable tradeoffs and harm our overall COVID-19 preparedness and response—and that the consequences would likely worsen over time.”
If you’ve already ordered your share of tests from covid.gov/tests or aren’t able to place an order before Friday, you may be able to get reimbursed for at-home tests purchased at a pharmacy. This FAQ from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides info on how to file for reimbursement.
Free PCR and antigen tests are also available to everyone (regardless of insurance status) at more than 20,000 testing sites throughout the country; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also has a tool to help you locate free testing sites near you, which can be found here.