Get Free Over-the-Counter COVID Tests Through Medicare

Beneficiaries can get up to eight tests a month through both original Medicare and Advantage plans.

Man looking in the mirror as he gives himself a COVID test
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, it’s now easier to get free at-home COVID-19 tests. That’s because original Medicare (opens in new tab) and Medicare Advantage (opens in new tab) plans now cover the costs of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests with no cost-sharing for enrollees.

Medicare beneficiaries can get up to eight tests a month for free. The tests must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are available through pharmacies and other participating healthcare locations. Medicare will provide payment directly to the test provider with no need for beneficiaries to file claims.

This is the first time that Medicare has paid for over-the-counter COVID testing with no costs for enrollees. The Biden administration said in January that private insurance companies would be required to pay for up to eight tests per month for those who are on their plans.

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The tests are in addition to the three sets of four at-home tests available to all Americans through covidtests.gov.

Pharmacy chains participating in the Medicare plan include Albertsons Companies, Inc., Costco Pharmacy, CVS, Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Pharmacies, H-E-B Pharmacy, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Kroger Family of Pharmacies, Rite Aid Corp., Shop & Stop, Walgreens and Walmart.

Check with your pharmacy or healthcare provider to see if they are participating. You can also find a partial list of providers on the Medicare website.

Senior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com

Elaine Silvestrini has had an extensive career as a newspaper and online journalist, primarily covering legal issues at the Tampa Tribune and the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In more recent years, she's written for several marketing, legal and financial websites, including Annuity.org and LegalExaminer.com, and the newsletters Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report.