White House announces Americans can order free at-home rapid COVID tests starting Jan. 19

Starting Jan. 19, Americans will be able to order at-home rapid COVID-19 tests from the Biden administration for free, the White House said Friday.

The move came one day after President Joe Biden revealed the administration would be purchasing 500 million COVID tests that it could distribute to Americans, in addition to the 500 million tests that he announced last month, The New York Times reported.

It’s the latter batch of tests — the ones announced in December — that will be made available to Americans starting Jan. 19.

“To help ensure Americans have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden Administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free,” the White House said in a statement Friday.

“A half-billion tests will be available for order on January 19th and will be mailed directly to American households.”

“Americans will be able to order a test online at COVIDTests.gov,” the statement added. “To ensure broad access, the program will limit the number of tests sent to each residential address to four tests. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days of ordering.”

The White House said it would be working with the U.S. Postal Service to distribute the tests to Americans.

Some Twitter commentators couldn’t help but point out what they saw as one flaw with the plan:

In addition to the free tests, the White House also announced this week that it will require private insurers to cover at-home COVID tests.

“This means consumers with private health insurance coverage will be able to get these tests for free,” the White House statement said. “Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover eight free at-home tests per covered individual per month.”