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The Federal Government Will Stop Sending Free COVID Tests

A closeup of an orange and white box that reads "iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test. Self-Test At Home Results in 15 Mins. FDA, Emergency Use Authorization."
An example of a COVID test handed out at Daniel Webster Middle School in Mar Vista.
(Suzanne Levy
/
LAist)
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The federal government is hitting the pause button on sending free COVID-19 testing kits to Americans. The Biden administration blames Congress for failing to fund another round of shipments.

“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,” the ordering website says.

People who have yet to request all of their free rapid tests through the Department of Health and Human Services federal portal have until Sept. 2 to place their orders. Tests are delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and there are a limited number per household.

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Private insurance plans are still required to cover up to eight tests per month during the public health emergency. The current declaration is due to expire in October, though the Biden administration is expected to renew the emergency for at least another few months.

The FDA now says people need up to three separate tests to rule out asymptomatic coronavirus infections.

NPR reports the White House first began sending out the kits in January. By last May, the White House said 350 million tests had been given away to 70 million households, more than half of the households in the U.S.

What questions do you have about the pandemic and health care?
Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.