Health  |  News & Politics

Free Covid-19 Home Tests Available Again

Starting today, the US government will again mail four free test kits per household. Here's how to get them.

Photograph by Focal Foto/Flickr.

As of September 25, 2023, the US government will mail four free Covid-19 test kits to any residential household that wants them, resuming a Biden administration program that has mailed out hundreds of millions of free at-home Covid tests. To get the free rapid antigen tests, go to to fill out an online form or call  800-232-0233. Shipping will start the week of October 2, through the US Postal Service.

The free tests come as Covid hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise and as the US heads into the fall and winter, when spikes have often occurred. A reformulated Covid vaccine, to protect against the latest variants, has also recently been approved and is available—though appointments in the Washington, DC, area currently can be hard to come by and some people have had appointments cancelled because the pharmacy did not have the new vaccine.

A notice on the US Postal Service website that is set up for ordering the free tests cautions that “Tests may show ‘expired’ dates on the box, but FDA has extended those dates.” The FDA has extended the shelf life of many at-home Covid test kits based on tests done by the test manufacturers. Which is good news if you have expired test kits at home—don’t just toss them out; they often are still accurate.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.