Free COVID Home Test Kits Are Still Available: Here's How to Get Them

If you think you might have COVID, don't panic: You have plenty of options for free testing and treatments.

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COVID-19 home testing kit

The last federal shipment of free COVID tests ended in March, but you can still get free tests.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Even if you're vaccinated against COVID-19, you could still be one of the hundreds of millions of people who continue to get infected by the virus. If you have any COVID symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of free COVID tests and treatments still available. 

Recently, the Federal Government halted the US Postal Service's free COVID program, which would allow you to order free COVID-19 tests through the USPS. The end of the free COVID-19 testing program comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shifting its official COVID isolation guidelines. Instead of the typical five-day isolation period, the CDC now recommends that you be fever-free and have improving symptoms for 24 hours before returning to normal activities.

Read more: Are Your COVID Tests Really Expired? How to Find Out

However, hope is not lost when it comes to finding free tests. Read on to find out the ways you can still get free COVID testing, as well as how to get your hands on free treatments and COVID vaccines.

For more, here's what to know about long COVID, and how to tell if it's COVID, allergies or something else.

What are my free COVID-19 testing options? 

Now that you can no longer receive tests from the Postal Service, you have three main avenues to find free COVID-19 testing locations across the US: HRSA health centers, Test to Treat locations and ICATT testing sites. These options function similarly, but we'll break down the specific steps to find your nearest free testing location.

HRSA health centers offer free COVID-19 testing

map of HRSA health center locations for COVID testing near Detroit

HRSA health centers offer free COVID-19 testing. 

HRSA/Screenshot by CNET

The Health Resources and Services Administration funds health centers across the US. At these HRSA health centers, you will be able to receive free COVID-19 testing. You can use HRSA's locator tool to find a center near you.

First, select the language you would like to receive your results in. Then simply enter the location you wish to search into the box labeled Location. The locator also allows you to widen your search radius, so you can see all the options your area has to offer. 

Once you've found a center that works for you, click through to that particular location's website and follow their specific instructions for obtaining a free COVID-19 test. 

Test to Treat locations have COVID testing and medicine

map of Test to Treat locations for COVID testing near Atlanta

The Test to Treat program makes COVID testing and therapeutics more accessible. 

HHS/Screenshot by CNET

Test to Treat is a federally funded health care initiative that provides more accessible COVID-19 care. This option differs from the others in this article as you can use the Test to Treat centers to receive both COVID testing and treatment for infections. Like the other COVID-19 free testing options, Test to Treat has a locator tool that you can use to find an eligible Test to Treat center near you. 

The Test to Treat center locator works like the other COVID testing search tools. Enter your location into the search bar and the tool will display Test to Treat locations in your area. A sliding bar lets you resize the search radius to capture all of the Test to Treat centers within your area. 

Within the Test to Treat locator results, you'll be able to see each location's address, which COVID-19 therapeutics they offer and other special instructions you might need to know to get tested. If there's not an option to schedule a COVID test online through your chosen site, you may need to call.

Increasing Community Access to Testing provides COVID testing for the uninsured

a map showing ICATT COVID testing locations near Chicago

ICATT offers free testing to uninsured patients who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have recently been exposed.

CDC/Screenshot by CNET

Increasing Community Access to Testing, or ICATT, is another free testing program that you can use if you need access to free COVID-19 testing. ICATT works a bit differently than the other programs on this list. 

ICATT is specifically designed for uninsured patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone can get an ICATT test at one of the program's locations, regardless of insurance status. If you are uninsured and you wish to be tested at an ICATT-eligible site, you will not need to pay for your test. If you are insured, you might need to pay a fee. 

The ICATT locator tool works just like the other locator tools for free COVID testing -- input your address or your ZIP code to find ICATT locations near you. There is a search radius adjuster in this locator to tweak your searches to capture the entire area that you want to search. 

Once you've found a location, follow your testing site's steps for scheduling your appointment. 

How can I get free COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots?

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are an important protection against contracting or getting seriously ill from the virus. Since the CDC has recommended updated COVID-19 booster shots for everyone 6 months or older, you might be wondering how to find free COVID-19 vaccines. 

If you don't have insurance or a health provider, don't worry. The Department of Health and Human Services website says, "COVID-19 vaccines are 100% free for every individual living in the United States."

On Sept. 14, the Department of Health and Human Services launched the Bridge Access Program, which will continue to provide free vaccines to those who are uninsured through local health departments and HRSA centers. CDC has also partnered with "more than 20,000 retail pharmacy locations nationwide" to provide free vaccines by modifying the existing ICATT program mentioned above.

The Bridge Access Program will end in December 2024, but until then, you'll be able to access free COVID-19 vaccines. To use it, go to vaccines.gov, choose which shot you want, and then click the "search" button. On the next page, select the option that says "Bridge Access Program Participant" to show which locations offer no-cost vaccines. 

For more, learn how your blood type could make you more susceptible to COVID and everything to know about the updated COVID-19 boosters.

Correction, Sept. 21, 2023: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the cost of vaccines for people without insurance. It has been updated with information about how people can get free vaccines.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.