Close Up Of Woman At Home Reading Instructions On Supply Of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Self-Testing Kits


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You only have a few more days to get free COVID-19 tests from the government before the option is no longer guaranteed. On May 11, the declared public health emergency will officially expire, and many COVID-related freebies will soon cost you.

Since early 2021, the federal government has required private insurers to cover up to eight COVID-19 tests per month. Starting May 11, that will no longer be in effect. Depending on your insurance, you’re now going to have to pick up some or all of the costs for COVID-19 testing.

Gallery: 5 Cheapest Ways To See a Doctor Without Insurance

And it’s not only at-home tests that might cost you: When you visit the doctor's office, you’ll likely have to pay a portion of the test’s price on top of copays. Under the health emergency, insurers were not allowed to charge copays or any cost-sharing fees as related to COVID testing. All that is about to end.

One exception is for those who are enrolled in Medicaid, a government program for low-income individuals and families. They will continue to receive free tests until September 2024.

Everyone else can receive four more free tests from the government until May 11 if you haven’t received any since December 2022. A pack of two tests at the drugstore hovers around $20, so grabbing them now may save you an extra $80 in the future. 

The FDA also recently re-evaluated the shelf life for certain COVID-19 tests, so it’s worth taking a look to see how much longer you have to use up any tests you already have at home.

For now, COVID-19 vaccines will remain free of charge, because they are still paid for by the federal government. 

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