While brick-and-mortar businesses nationwide experience shortages of stock for at-home COVID tests, many online retailers are stepping in with fast delivery. And if you live in one of the 5,500 cities served by delivery services like Instacart, you may be able to get your hands on a test kit within hours.
Delivery services for COVID test kits
Find in-stock COVID test kits available for delivery near you.
Instacart allows you to easily browse for in-stock rapid COVID tests and other supplies available for delivery from stores near you. Same-day delivery is available in many areas.
Ways to get an at-home COVID test quickly
With at-home COVID testing kits in high demand, you may need to shop around for the quickest delivery you can find.
|Delivery services||Services like DoorDash or Instacart can deliver test kits within hours to select service areas. Doordash has even teamed up with Everlywell and Vault Health for on-demand delivery in nearly 15 metropolitan areas.||Within 2 hours|
|Online retailers||Amazon Prime promises same- or 2-day delivery, but many online retailers are having trouble meeting quick delivery deadlines due to high demand for COVID tests. Browse in-stock rapid tests online in our dedicated guide.||2 days and up to 1 week|
|Pharmacy websites||Pharmacy retailers like CVS and Walgreens offer delivery of COVID tests within 5 days, though many limit the number you can buy.||3 to 5 days|
|Medical supplier||Order a test from a retailer like DMB Supply for expedited delivery.||Next day|
|Test providers||You can order directly from the source, but providers like EverlyWell, Ro and empowerDX often advertise shipping within three to five days.||3 to 5 days|
|State programs||If your state supports a testing program, you can order limited tests through the program’s website — often for free.||1 to 2 weeks|
|Federal program||Every home in the US is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests through COVIDtests.gov.||7 to 12 days|
How to find at-home COVID tests for fast delivery
National retailers typically offer an online store locator tool to search for a store near you. You may try the following retailers in your area:
- Local independent pharmacies
- Large grocery store chains
If you’re concerned about accuracy, check available tests against the FDA’s list of approved brands so that you know you can trust the results.
What are the different types of at-home COVID tests?
There are two types of diagnostic tests you can perform on yourself or a dependent at home — antigen or PCR tests. While they can both determine if you have the virus, they differ from each other.
- Antigen tests, otherwise known as rapid tests, detect nucleocapsid protein from SARS-CoV-2, according to the CDC. Results can come back in as little as 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes. They can cost anywhere between $10 and $30 each.
- Polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests are molecular tests that can identify trace amounts of coronavirus DNA on a patient’s sample. Results typically take longer, from one hour up to two days. PCR tests can cost upward of $100 or more.
How do I get a free at-home test?
As of January 19, 2022, US residents are eligible to receive at-home COVID-19 test kits. When you access the COVIDtests.gov website, you can order your test kits for delivery straight to your front door courtesy of the United States Postal Service (USPS).
These tests are completely free, so it’s a great option for the wallet. However, if speed is your goal, these kits might not be ideal. Receiving your kit will take time, and currently, there is no option for expedited shipping. Kits usually ship 7 to 12 days from the point of order. Delivery times will depend upon your location and the demand placed on USPS as orders rise.
Also, test kits are limited to four per household. This cap limits the amount of testing residents can practice — depending on your location and the number of exposures in your area, four kits may last only a short time. Families with multiple members could potentially blow through four tests in less than a week.
Health insurance reimbursement for at-home COVID tests
As of January 15, 2022, insurance companies are required to cover the cost of COVID-19 at-home tests. This coverage applies to individuals with private health insurance coverage or covered by a group health plan. Households can expect coverage for eight free at-home tests per covered individual every month. That equates to 32 test kits for a four-person family each month, covered by their health plan.
Some insurers and group health plans have set up programs that allow people to get the over-the-counter tests directly through preferred retailers with no upfront costs. Review your specific plan or call your provider to see if they have a list of preferred retailers in your area.
Again, if you need a test as soon as possible, it might be more convenient to grab a kit whenever you can find it and submit a claim for reimbursement instead. Currently, insurers are required to reimburse tests purchased by consumers up to $12 per test. To be reimbursed, you must purchase an over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test that is authorized, cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Medicaid and CHIP cover at-home COVID tests as well. However, these tests are not covered for Medicare recipients.