Order 4 More Covid-19 Tests Free From The Postal Service This Week

At the start of the pandemic the CDC developed Covid-19 tests that did not work. The FDA forbid use of private tests that were developed around the world. And regulation of testing kept cheap tests out of the hands of many.

With the pandemic hopefully winding down, the federal government is sending out tests at no cost to recipients (‘free’). They’re using the US Postal Service to distribute them and perhaps not surprisingly many report not getting the tests they ordered. (Oddly, the first time around they actually sent me too many tests.

However with much less need for testing now – The 7 day moving average of U.S. reported cases are down 94% from their January 16th peak – only half of the 500 million tests the government ordered have been spoken for. Each household was permitted to order (4) tests previously, no matter how many people lived at a residential address. Starting this week households can order a second set of four tests.

Starting this week, you can place a second order (for a total of 8 free at-home tests per household).

Here’s what you need to know about your order:

  • Each order includes #4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • Orders will ship free
  • Starting this week, limit of #2 orders per residential address

These free tests – on their own – are not valid for travel. That’s because self-tests used for entry into the United States are required to be proctored (e.g. video monitoring, either via a computer or app) and these do not come with proctoring.

The good news, however, is that depending on the tests you receive you may be able to purchase monitoring for them. Luckily the FlowFlex tests I was sent can be proctored by Azova for $20 each. Not all tests are set up for this. For instance, I haven’t seen any proctoring available for the iHealth tests some are receiving.

By the way, the government purchased these tests and now says they lack funding to buy doses of Paxlovid they’ve announce they were purchasing. Having home tests is still really useful to identify quickly whether an illness is Covid-19, because treatments like Paxlovid do require starting a course within days of symptom onset. It’s time, though, to drop not just the transportation mask mandate (currently sunsetting March 18 with no announcement yet on whether it’ll be extended) and the testing requirement to enter the U.S. The precautions you take should now be based on your own evaluation of risk.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Happy to be able to get more tests, but sad about paxlovoid. I hope the next surge Pfizer and company can better meet demand.

    Ditto – on letting the March 18th restrictions sunset, although I may keep a mask handy when flying in Y for the forseeable future.

  2. In other words, because most Americans have moved on and didn’t bother requesting any tests, Biden’s free test program has been an utter failure, and he needs to get rid of the leftovers.

  3. Only got 1 of the 4 I ordered last time, though that came very fast. Thanks for the heads up, just requested 4 more for a “just in case”. Hopefully we’re on the downslope, like economic depressions, epidemics just sort of peter out. And there will not be a “victory” day. What worries me are the number of cases in poorer nations where vaccine rates are abysmally low. And the Ukraine situation isn’t great either; remember the 1918 Pandemic may have begun in an army camp in Kansas where a lot of people where thrown together and then spread through the warring armed forces. Think you’re right about the pre-entry testing for airline passengers, as I’ve said it’s a ridiculous requirement that may go with the masks (if not sooner).

  4. drrichard…how did you only get 1? They came in a box of 4. Unless they took one out of a box and sent it to you, I don’t understand.

  5. @Joe
    Mine were 4 individual boxes bounded 2 by 2 with an elastic band together inside a bubble envelope
    It seems like depending on where you are in the country you get different brands and different packaging.

  6. @Gary
    The iHealth test kit can now be proctored.
    iHealth sells a proctoring service valid for US entry for $20.
    See on their website ihealthlabs.com

  7. News media constantly says these kits are free along with many other things provided during the pandemic. Free does not exist since tax payers are paying for these test. Also another unintended consequence was employers had to rule that only test given by a health care professional are a valid excuse for not coming to work. As soon as the “free” kits became available a few bad apples started claiming false positive test to get a vacation from work.

  8. I successfully received 2 Abbott Binax Now (2 in each) not too long after the order request

  9. Just submitted my request for a 2nd order of test kits. The auto-reply said “USPS will only send one set of 4 free tests to valid residential addresses. We are unable to process duplicate orders for the same address”.

    My question is: What does ‘this week’ mean, as relating to when a 2nd order will be accepted? Does “this week” mean beginning today (Monday)? Or does this “this week” mean say….beginning Thursday, or Friday?

    Leave it to the Federal Government to screw up something (everything?).

  10. @James N
    You mean like you continue to make stuff up!. Anytime Covid, masks or vaccines are mentioned by Gary you can be sure the scientific genius, Jimmy will be here for a shout out. Narcissistic know it all. So, Jimmy are you ever going to fly on a plane? People want to know.

  11. I ordered my kit in January. USPS reported them delivered 2/2/2022. They weren’t (my building has 24 hour front desk staff). I filed complaint with USPS & they reordered test on 2/14. Still no tests. Ahhh, a government agency.

  12. Look, my own personal troll tries again to make a point and fails miserably. Sorry, but all I’m doing is pointing out the truth and that is what truly bothers you. The fact is the bulk of society, including you, fell for a ridiculous, obvious scam and now, you’re too weak and addle-minded to admit it.

  13. Sure hope I don’t get another set of the iHealth test kits. Don’t need any more Made in China stuff.

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