Beneficiaries Have a New Way to Get Medicare-Covered Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests

covid-19 tests

Did you hear the good news? The Biden-Harris Administration announced today 4/4/22 that all people with Medicare Part B now have access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at no cost. People with Medicare can get up to eight tests per calendar month from participating pharmacies and health care providers for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This is great news!!

This is the first time that Medicare has covered an over-the-counter self-administered test at no cost to beneficiaries. The new initiative enables Medicare to directly pay participating pharmacies and other health care providers to allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive tests for free, in addition to the two sets of four free at-home COVID-19 tests Americans can continue to order from Many national pharmacy chains are participating in this initiative, including: Albertsons Companies, Inc., Costco Pharmacy, CVS, Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Pharmacies, H-E-B Pharmacy, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Kroger Family of Pharmacies, Rite Aid Corp., Shop & Stop, Walgreens and Walmart. You can also check with your local pharmacy and health care provider to see if they are participating.

This initiative adds to a range of existing options for Medicare beneficiaries to access free COVID-19 testing. Here’s list from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent press release:

  • Requesting free over-the-counter tests for home delivery at Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order two sets of four at-home COVID-19 tests.
  • Access to no-cost COVID-19 tests through health care providers at over 20,000 testing sites nationwide. A list of community-based testing sites can be found here.
  • Access to lab-based PCR tests and antigen tests performed by a laboratory when the test is ordered by a physician, non-physician practitioner, pharmacist, or other authorized health care professional at no cost through Medicare.
  • In addition to accessing a COVID-19 laboratory test ordered by a health care professional, people with Medicare can also access one lab-performed test without an order and cost-sharing during the public health emergency.

For more information, see the following CMS and Medicare publications and resources:

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.