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Here's how to request free at-home COVID tests today

CBS News logo CBS News 1/19/2022 Kathryn Watson
COVID-19 home rapid test kits are seen on a shelf at a © Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images COVID-19 home rapid test kits are seen on a shelf at a

Americans can now order four free at-home COVID-19 tests online. It's part of the Biden administration's strategy to make tests more accessible as the Omicron variant continues to cause high numbers of cases across the U.S.

The rapid at-home tests can be ordered on the website COVIDtests.gov, where you just need to enter your name and address. Tests will be limited to four per household, no matter the size of the household. 

Tests should ship within seven to 12 days of ordering, the White House says.

The rollout was officially scheduled to begin Wednesday, but some users were able to submit their requests a day early as the system began coming online Tuesday. The U.S. Postal Service will be responsible for delivering all the tests via first-class mail.

The COVIDtests.gov website also includes information on free testing sites in communities around the country.

Americans with private health insurance are able to file for reimbursement for rapid tests purchased at a store or online retailer on or after Saturday, January 15. Up to eight tests per month for each person covered by a policy will qualify. The Biden administration is encouraging health insurance companies to allow people to obtain the tests directly through retailers with no out-of-pocket cost. 

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The Biden administration has also increased the number of at-home tests it will procure — from 500 million to 1 billion, or about three per person. 

In addition to increasing access to tests, the White House also announced plans to distribute free high-quality masks to Americans through local pharmacies and health centers, something some health experts have said should have occurred before vaccines were widely available.

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