COVID-19 Testing Update

Published on December 04, 2023

Person shown using a COVID testing kit.

As of November 20, every U.S. household could once again order four more free rapid COVID-19 tests at covid.gov. If you didn’t order during the last round (September), you can place two separate orders for a total of 8 tests.

  • If your rapid test result is negative, always repeat the test in 48 hours. PCR tests are more accurate and are still available for free at these locations for people who have symptoms or were exposed.
  • Before you throw out any "expired" tests, check FDA's website to see if your tests' expiration dates were extended.

If someone is at risk for complications and receives a prescription for antiviral pills, COVID-19 treatment will be free through the end of 2024 for people who have Medicare, Medicaid, or no health insurance. People with health insurance may be eligible for co-pay assistance from the drug manufacturer.

Importantly, antivirals for COVID-19 must be prescribed within the first 5 days of symptoms, so don’t delay testing. Through the Test to Treat program, individuals can be tested for COVID-19, see a health care provider, receive a prescription (if eligible), and have the prescription filled—all in one location, at little to no cost.

Low-cost clinics like Centromed, Communicare, University and Methodist Health Ministries clinics are additional resources for people without insurance. Individuals with insurance can use any in-network urgent care, primary care or telehealth provider.

NOTE: The 2024 ACA Open Enrollment period is from November 1, 2023 – January 15, 2024.

All ACA plans cover these 10 Essential Health Benefits, and through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), increased subsidies were extended through 2025, keeping plans more affordable than in the past.