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Free COVID-19 home rapid-tests distribution starts Jan. 14 in U.S.

Eight free tests per person, per month as the government plan is set to roll out on Saturday, Jan. 14.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Starting on Saturday, everyone in the United States will be eligible for free, COVID home rapid-tests.

Eight tests per person, per month, for free; or 32 tests per month for a family of four. That’s the promise of the federal government starting January 15.

If you have health insurance, you have the option to:

1) Go to your health insurance provider’s web site to order free tests.

2) Go to an in-network pharmacy to get free tests over the counter.

3) Purchase the rapid tests on your own and submit a claim to your insurance company to get a maximum of $12 reimbursement per test.

If you do not have health insurance, the government plans to launch a web site as soon as next week, where you can order eight free tests per person, per month.  The URL for the site has not been announced.  

Officials said the website will have access to 500 million rapid tests once it gets up and running.

Free rapid tests also will be available in the near future at community health centers and clinics for people without insurance.

If you have old receipts from before January 15, where you ordered you own tests on Amazon, for example, there's nothing stopping you from submitting those recipes and a claim to your health insurance provider.  

The provider may or may not reimburse you, however, because the federal mandate was not in place prior to January 15.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is strongly incentivizing health plans and insurers to set up a network of convenient locations across the country such as pharmacies or retailers where people with private health coverage will be able to order online or walk in and pick up at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests for free, rather than going through the process of having to submit claims for reimbursement,” according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which has posted information on obtaining free COVID rapid tests.

WATCH RELATED: Save your receipts! Insurance companies now must pay for COVID tests (January 2022)

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