Good News! Medicare to Cover Free Over-the-Counter COVID Tests

happy senior Latina woman pointing to the over-the-counter COVID tests

The Biden-Harris Administration just announced that people in either Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage will be able to get free over-the-counter COVID tests starting in early spring. Under the new initiative, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to access up to eight over-the-counter COVID tests per month for no cost. Tests will be available through eligible pharmacies and other participating entities and Medicare will pay them directly. This policy will apply to COVID-19 over-the-counter tests approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This is great news and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to expand access to free testing.

Until early spring, Medicare beneficiaries can access free tests by:

  • Requesting four free over-the-counter tests for home delivery at
  • Accessing COVID-19 tests through healthcare providers at over 20,000 free testing sites nationwide. A list of community-based testing sites can be found here
  • Accessing 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. In addition to accessing a COVID-19 lab test ordered by a health care professional, people with Medicare can also already access one lab-performed test without an order, also without cost sharing, during the public health emergency.

For more information, read:

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.