You can still get at-home COVID-19 tests for free

As the latest, highly infectious COVID-19 variant called XBB.1.5 spreads across the country this winter, Cupertino Today is reminding our readers that they are still eligible to get free, at-home COVID-19 tests.

Most folks with a health plan can go online or to a pharmacy or store to purchase at home COVID-19 tests at no cost – either through reimbursement or free of charge through their insurance.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), COVID-19 tests are either free directly at the point of sale – if your health plan provides direct coverage – or you will be eligible for reimbursement if you are charged for your test. Remember to keep your receipt if you need to submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.

While overall infections appear to be subsiding in Bay Area counties like Santa Clara, health officials believe the numbers may be skewed due to fewer people reporting positive test results.

According to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s wastewater monitoring program, the County’s four sewershed systems are still reporting “medium” levels of COVID this week.

At the same time, many in-person state-sponsored testing clinics, like the ones in San Mateo County will close next month as California’s COVID-19 state of emergency ends on Feb. 28, 2023.

Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration restarted a program that also provides free COVID tests to American households through the Postal Service – part of a push to get ahead of the holiday ‘triple-demic” COVID, RSV, and flu surge. You can order those at

If you’re already sitting on a stockpile of old COVID tests– don’t throw them out! Last week, the FDA announced that certain COVID-19 tests under emergency use authorization now have a longer shelf life.

Abbot, Maxim Biomedical, and iHealth Labs all received extensions for their expiration dates. Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 tests have an extended shelf life of 22 months – up from 15 months. Maximum Biomedical tests have been extended from an 8 to 12-month shelf life and iHealth Labs tests have been extended by three months from 12 to 15. For more information about the shelf life of your COVID test, visit the FDA website.