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Free at-home COVID-19 tests: Answering your questions

WCNC Charlotte is tackling your VERIFY questions about the newly launched federal website to order free at-home COVID-19 tests.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Biden administration is now taking orders for free at-home COVID tests. People can place those orders through the website, COVIDTests.gov, which launched Tuesday, one day earlier than anticipated.

Since the website launch, WCNC Charlotte's Verify team has gotten several questions about how the ordering process works. Here are some of the top submissions.

THE SOURCES

Answers to the below questions were provided by officials from the Biden Administration and the United States Postal Service, which is tasked with fulfilling the testing orders.

Order Limits

Question

Can everyone in my house order the tests?

Answer

Not necessarily. To promote broad access, the initial program will only allow four free individual tests per residential address. That means whether someone lives alone or with a family of eight, each household will only get four tests.

For those getting an error message saying that tests have already been ordered for their address, USPS said to check with others in the household to see if they placed an order.

Separately, new federal policies require health insurance to cover part of the cost for at-home tests. Under that order, people can get up to eight at-home tests per month per person on the insurance plan.

Tracking Your Order

Question

Can people track the status of test kit orders?

Answer

Yes, but one has to provide an email address when placing the order.

According to USPS, to receive tracking information, a person must provide that email address. If they complete the order without one, they will not have access to tracking information and customer care agents cannot retrieve the tracking number and assist with inquiries.

For those who do provide an email address, an email will arrive upon shipment, with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. 

In the Carolinas, all orders are coming through First-Class Package Service.

Address Restrictions

Question

Can you get an order shipped to a P.O. Box?

Answer

Yes, but only to residential P.O. boxes.

USPS states these customers should use their P.O. Box address when placing the order, not their actual street address.

Orders will not be shipped to business P.O. Boxes

For those who tried ordering tests to a residential PO box, but received an error message, USPS said to file a service request.

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