USPS pauses free COVID testing in September

men January 2022, President Biden made one billion free home tests for COVID-19 available to the American people through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Now, almost eight months later, the administration has announced that it will pause the program after more than 350 million free trials have been administered.

“Orders through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress has not provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s testing stockpile,” the testing ordering website reads. However, if you have yet to request the third round of free trials, you can still do so until Friday, September 2.

To request your latest round of free testing (which includes eight rapid COVID tests per household), simply go to or call 1-800-232-0233. You will then need to enter your full name, email and address to receive your complimentary test kit. Kits come in two separate, free shipments of four tests.

Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 is leveling off after a spike in the summer months. But with the aggressive omicron BA.5 variant in circulation, there is still power in having these home tests on hand. That way, you can find out if you’re carrying the virus sooner (and take steps to protect your loved ones and take care of yourself).

Generally, self-administered tests involve rubbing the nostrils and return results quickly. “The advantage of home tests is that they’re quick,” Karen Edwards, PhD, a professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine, previously told Well + Good. “You get the results immediately, in 10 to 15 minutes, for example.” They are ideal to use just before a meeting or social event as they can quickly tell you whether or not you are potentially infected and contagious.

That said, if you need more COVID-19 testing after the government-funded testing program pauses next month, you can still request free testing through your private insurance provider or your Medicaid and Medicare plan. Additionally, you can also find free trial facilities near you.

Here’s more from a doctor about living “normally” with the ongoing pandemic:

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