The only official place to order COVID-19 tests from the U.S. government — how to avoid getting scammed
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
The only official place to order free COVID-19 tests from the federal government is “https://www.covidtests.gov” and consumers should be wary of the inevitable scam sites that will pop up.
Please note the following words of caution:
- As of Jan. 18, 2022, covidtests.gov redirects users to “https://special.usps.com/testkits,” a page hosted by the U.S. Postal Service.
- The government is using the the USPS to fill the orders as of this writing, though this could change.
- There is no fee to order tests and no payment information is required to order.
- Consumers are advised to only using the address covidtests.gov and be wary of links to order tests sent via email, text message, social media or other sources and instead type in the URL directly.
- It is likely that scam sites will begin popping up claiming to be a way to order free tests but in reality will just serve as a way to collect personal information from unsuspecting users (these likely will also result in you not receiving your tests or receiving counterfeit or fake testing kits).
- It is also likely that some of these sites will claim they need payment information (such as credit card, bank account or other financial service account numbers or logins) to “reserve” your tests or cover shipping. This is not true for any U.S. government funded test kit.
- The U.S. government is not collecting payment for any purpose for the free COVID-19 tests it is distributing, so any site claiming to need that is fake and should be avoided.
- The U.S. government is not requiring any health insurance information, including member or group numbers or pharmacy BIN or PCN numbers, so any site collecting this information is not any official U.S. government one.
- In short, do not provide your financial information or health insurance or care information to any site for the purpose of getting free COVID-19 tests from the federal government.
Many U.S. households will also be likely to order additional tests at their own expense or that can be reimbursed by health insurance.
- Check with your health insurance carrier for information about purchasing. Some insurers have negotiated deals with retailers to provide tests for free without any reimbursement process by showing your member card.
- You can also buy tests from any retailer and submit a claim for reimbursement as long as the purchase was made after Jan. 15, 2022. There are limits to the cost and how many you can order, so check with your insurance company first. In general, you can buy up to eight tests per month per subscriber or dependent on your plan.
- When purchasing, you should use a reputable ecommerce site and make sure the tests are FDA cleared. Amazon is a good place to start. While there are many brands available, some of the most reputable ones are iHealth, On/Go, BD Veritor, Amazon brand and more. You can check the FDA’s website for a list of tests that have been cleared by the agency.