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


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.

Millions of seniors on Medicare are now able to pick up free COVID tests at more than a dozen retail pharmacies. It's a significant milestone because Medicare recipients were originally left out of the Biden administration's mandate requiring private insurers cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests. 

Related: At-Home COVID-19 Tests: How User-Friendly Are They?

If you're on Medicare, you can grab up to eight free tests each month at retail pharmacies including Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Food Lion, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart.

This marks the first time in Medicare history that the program has paid for an over-the counter service or test, said Dr. Meena Seshamani, deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The agency says free at-home tests are now available to nearly 60 million Medicare beneficiaries. 

Related: How Does Your State's COVID Vaccine Rollout Stack Up?

Groups including AARP have cheered the move. "We know that people 65 and older are at much greater risk of serious illness and death from this disease — they need equal access to tools that can help keep them safe," said Nancy LeaMond, AARP vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer.

All U.S. households are also eligible to order two sets of four at-home COVID tests from the website They will be sent directly to your address via the U.S. Postal Service. As of the end of February, half of the stockpile of 500 million tests was yet to be claimed. 

Medicare recipients can also get doctor-ordered PCR tests for free at more than 20,000 community testing sites.

Gallery: 17 Myths and Misconceptions About Medicare

Cheapism in the News