After weeks of pharmacies running out of quick tests, Americans now have an easier choice than trawling local stores: a new government website that sends tests directly to your home.
The White House claimed COVIDTests.gov went live in a “limited capacity” on Tuesday to sort out any bugs before the formal launch on Wednesday.
Covidtests.gov Went Live – Details
Anyone in the United States can order free quick tests through the website, which will be sent by the US Postal Service. Only a name and mailing address are necessary; no credit card information is required.
There are, however, limitations. There are only four tests available for each residential address. The tests will typically take seven to twelve days to arrive, according to the White House.
Nonetheless, the website makes tests more accessible, which health professionals have been advocating for months.
“We can’t promise there won’t be a glitch or two,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, adding that the site is based on the Postal Service’s current website. The official launch will take place “mid-morning” on Wednesday, she said.
Given the shortages of fast tests at merchants and long waits at testing locations, President Biden has been under pressure to extend access to testing.
Many experts believe that the White House should have acted months ago to establish the type of free rapid testing program that is currently being implemented.
With only four checks per location, the website will not be able to deliver the level of frequent testing that many experts have demanded.
Health insurance must now cover up to eight fast tests per month as of Saturday, albeit the process can be complicated because it often requires consumers to pay in advance and then submit receipts for reimbursement from their insurer.
The new government website is already distributing a 500 million quick test order placed by the Biden administration, and the White House indicated this week that it will place another 500 million rapid test order for future usage.
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Nonetheless, some Democrats are advocating for significantly more test availability, including a bill in Congress that would make and distribute enough tests so that every American could test twice a week.
The White House claims that its testing activities have been a “building process” that has taken place over time. It cites a $3 billion investment in quick testing and a supply rise from 24 million tests in August to over 300 million in December.