White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Tuesday that the government’s website to order free Covid-19 tests is up and running.
An add-on to the FAQ section at covidtests.gov says people can call 1-800-232-0233 if they are unable to access the site or “need additional support to place an order” for free trial.
This is the same number listed on vaccines.gov where people can get help finding a vaccine near them.
For people using text phone devices known as TTY, they can use the number 1-888-720-7489.
Many CNN readers reported that the site was easy to use, and the order took only a few minutes to complete.
Others, however, said they ran into problems. Several readers said that when they tried to use the site, they were told that tests had already been ordered to their address so that their request could not be carried out. Some live in apartment buildings, but others said they are in private homes and no one else in the household had used the place.
The website notes that it is early up to run to prepare for the full launch on Wednesday. It asks people to “check back tomorrow if you encounter unexpected problems.”
Once the shipping information was entered online, the site instructed people that testing would begin shipping in “late January,” and the United States Postal Service, which handles deliveries, “will only ship a set of 4 free COVID-19 tests at home. to valid residential addresses. “
Late last week, administration officials said that once a request is made through the website, the tests are expected to be sent within seven to 12 days. Requests are limited to four tests per. household, regardless of household size.
In addition to the website, the federal government is setting up a hotline to request the tests. It is currently being piloted and further details will be available by the end of the week, the White House said Tuesday.
The president announced his plan to make half a billion Covid-19 rapid tests available to Americans by mail last month ahead of Christmas, as the Omicron variant was on the rise across the United States.
Now the variant makes up almost all American cases.
The Omicron variant caused 99.5% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. last week, according to estimates released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States currently has an average of 777,453 new Covid-19 cases and 1,797 new deaths a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In total, the Biden administration has promised to acquire 1 billion rapid tests – initially the 500 million to distribute free of charge by mail to Americans, with a further 500 million recently announced to meet future demand.
Free home testing from resellers
Most Americans with private insurance can buy home tests online or in stores and get them paid at the time of purchase or get it refunded by filing a claim with their insurance company. A Biden administration effort, the program launched Saturday, and only tests purchased from that date are eligible.
Prescriptions or doctors’ orders will not be required and the tests will not be subject to deductibles or deductions. Insurance companies must pay for up to eight tests per. covered person per. month.
Insurance companies can set up a network of favorite stores, pharmacies and online retailers where consumers can receive tests at no cost in advance. People could still buy tests outside that network, but the insurance companies only had to refund up to $ 12 for each one.
Consumers should contact their insurance companies to find out if they provide direct coverage or if claims need to be filed.
However, many Medicare enrollees are not eligible for the free home tests from resellers. Traditional Medicare covers free Covid-19 tests performed in a laboratory by order of a physician.
Those who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans should check with their insurance companies to see if the cost of the home tests will be covered.
However, Americans have a hard time finding tests that they can buy at retailers or order online. Many have written to CNN to complain that they can not find samples.
This story has been updated with further details.
CNN’s Sam Fossum, Ben Tinker and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.