How to Get Quick Home COVID Tests Before You Travel for the Holidays

Demand for COVID-19 home test kits has skyrocketed as Christmas approaches, and the omicron variant is spreading like wildfire across the United States

Stephen Shankland / CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

The arrival of the omicron variant as Christmas and New Years trip The ramp-up has resulted in a shortage of test kits and increased costs for testing programs in many states. In response, manufacturers have ramped up production and the FDA has approved new tests at unprecedented speed: ACON labs say they will be able to produce more than 100 million Flowflex COVID-19 home test kits per months by the end of 2021, and over 200 million by February.

We’ll share what we know now, and continue to update this story as we learn more details, including when the program starts and exactly how it will work. Also, here is the latest on Merck’s COVID Antiviral Pill and how to choose a booster shot.

Read more: Smart COVID reminder tip: text this number for free rides, easy appointments

Where can I buy home test kits?

Should I use a rapid home test or take a PCR test?

How much do home COVID-19 tests cost?

Will free at-home COVID-19 tests be available?

From the start of next year, over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits will be available free to everyone: Under a plan announced by President Joe Biden, health insurance companies will be required to reimburse Americans for home antigen testing, which can cost $ 25 more each.

Those without health insurance will also have access to free kits at health centers and other community sites. The Biden administration has pledged to make 50 million tests available in these locations.

The White House said it would issue reimbursement guidelines to health insurers by January 15, and companies are expected to start reimbursing the costs of home tests soon after. However, the plan should not be retroactive, so kits purchased before that date are unlikely to be covered.

Some states, including Vermont, have asked insurers to start paying for in-home kits now. Other states, including Washington, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, have started distributing free test kits to residents of their states. Massachusetts plans to distribute 2.1 million free test kits to 100 municipalities.

If you don’t live in one of these states, you may want to check with your employer as some private companies have started offering reimbursement options for home tests.

Once the White House plan goes into effect, any insured person will be able to submit a receipt or other proof of payment for reimbursement after purchasing a test. The process is similar to visiting an on-site testing center and submitting your bill to a health insurance provider.

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Where can I get a COVID-19 home test?

Rapid at-home COVID-19 tests are available at drugstores like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. You can also buy them online at Amazon and at the stores listed above. It is not clear at this time if you can still claim them on your insurance when you buy online. Each box usually comes with two tests, unless you are buying in bulk.

What if I don’t have health insurance?

For those without insurance, Biden says there will be “thousands of locations” available to pick up COVID-19 test kits. You can take the kit home for private testing, rather than getting swabbed in a drive-through clinic.

In its Dec. 2 announcement, the Biden administration pledged to distribute at least 50 million free tests to community health centers and other organizations.

What should I do if my home test is positive for COVID?

If you take a home test and it shows you are positive for COVID-19, it is recommended that you pass your results on to your health care provider. You should stay home and self-isolate for 10 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information, here is the latest news on the federal vaccine mandate and all you need to know about Moderna callback.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.