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White House soft launches COVID-19 test request website

The Biden administration quietly launched its website for Americans to request free at-home COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, a day before the site was officially launched.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration quietly launched its website Tuesday for Americans to request free at-home COVID-19 tests, a day before the site was officially launched.

A White House official said the website is “currently in its beta phase” and is operating at “limited capacity ahead of its official launch.” The website will officially launch mid-morning on Wednesday, the official said.

Biden announced last month that the United States would purchase 500 million home tests to launch the program and on Thursday the president announced he was doubling the order to 1 billion tests.

But Americans shouldn’t expect a quick turnaround on orders, and they’ll need to plan ahead and request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines on when to use a test.

The White House said “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” via USPS, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class parcel service in the continental United States. .

Officials stressed that the federal website is just one way for people to get hold of COVID-19 tests, and shortages of home test kits have shown signs of easing as the supply increased in the market.

As of Saturday, private insurance companies are required to cover the cost of rapid home tests, allowing Americans to be reimbursed for the tests they purchase from pharmacies and online retailers. This covers up to eight tests per month.

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