U.S. provides free at-home COVID-19 tests


Ava Goforth

With COVID-19 cases spiking, people are opting to take at home gets instead of getting tested.

The Biden Administration mandated a Health Insurance plan to provide coverage for at-home COVID-19 tests on Jan. 15. 

Each family is provided with four free  tests which are delivered within 7-12 days after ordering.  

District employees under the UnitedHealthcare will get reimbursed for COVID-19 tests they bought from FDA authorized or OTC at-home COVID-19 tests. 

For Hunter Hansen, junior, the easier accessibility of the tests doesn’t have an effect.   

“I’ve never gotten tested and don’t expect to, but I see how it makes it easier for people especially when they travel,” Hunter Hansen, junior, said. 

However, for others having free available COVID-19 tests is more convenient. 

“It saves families time and money. By being able to administer the test at home it means more individuals don’t have to wait in long lines at testing sites or wait at a doctor’s office,”  Kim Pender, a nurse at AmeriHealth, said. “It also reduces the risk of those who are positive not spreading it to others.”

After taking the at-home tests the results take 10-15 minutes to process.

“My brother just had a baby so anytime we get sick it is easier for him to get an at-home test and test himself to make sure that he doesn’t have COVID-19,” Maddy Torres, junior, said. 

Cunningham believes the government is just fulfilling their obligation by providing availability online ordering and free tests. 

“If they’re going to encourage the testing as heavily as they have been then it’s fair they should be responsible for providing the testing,” Julian Cunningham, junior, said. 

This accessibility of at-home COVID-19 tests at free cost also provides equal opportunities for every family in the U.S. to get one.

“Having these free at-home tests makes it more accessible to everybody. Everybody should have the opportunity to get one and by providing a few of them for free ensures families’ ability to afford them,” Rylee Greenstein, junior, said. 

Under the health plan the limit to the amount of tests is eight per person per month. 

“COVID-19 at-home tests should be limited within a time frame, but if you can prove you have a big family then you should be able to buy more tests,” Cunningham said. 

Another factor to consider is how having at-home COVID-19 tests available for everyone will affect the number of reported cases. People question whether others will do the honest thing and report their positive results. 

“So many individuals have tested positive using at-home tests. To my knowledge, there is no mandatory reporting, I could be wrong. However, even with mandated reporting many individuals will not do the right thing and report their positive results,” Pender said. 

Due to a limited supply of COVID-19 at-home tests in local pharmacies, tests are available online at https://www.covidtests.gov/