Los Angeles County residents now have several options for getting free coronavirus test kits.
There are several different at-home COVID-19 test kit brands that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and made available to Americans. Some produce results within minutes, and others can be mailed to a lab with a result coming out a day or two later.
The kits became hard to find in L.A. during the holidays, when residents rushed to pharmacies only to find them sold out.
Here are some different ways you can go about getting a free test kit:
The county’s pick-up program
This L.A. County program lets residents pick up a PCR test kit, perform the test at home or in their car and then take it to a designated site for processing, with results promised within 24 to 48 hours of dropping them off.
The test kits are for immediate use only. Samples have to be returned within 3-5 days of receiving the kits.
This program is for residents who have COVID-19 symptoms or think they were exposed to the virus.
The kits are available for free, without an appointment and while supplies last at these locations:
|– Obregon Park|
– Memorial Park North Recreation Center
– San Gabriel Valley Airport
– Wingate Park
– MLK Medical Campus
– Ted Watkins Park
– Helen Keller Park
– Poinsettia Recreation Center
– Plummer Park
– Boys & Girls Club of San Fernando Valley
-Clara Street Park
– Los Nietos Library
|-Palmdale Hammack Center|
– College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita
– Rosemead Library
– West Hollywood Library
– Lennox Library
– Lawndale Library
– San Fernando Library
– Huntington Park Library
– Lynwood Library
– Pico Rivera Library
– Sunkist Library
– AC Bilbrew Library
More information on the program, addresses and hours of operation can be found here.
The county’s at-home testing program
The L.A. County Home Test Collection program sends at-home nasal swab test kits by mail to county residents who have COVID-19 symptoms or think they were exposed to the virus.
Residents have to sign up on the Picture by Fulgent Genetics website to order a test kit to be shipped to their home address by FedEx.
A test kit should arrive in the mail within two days after it is ordered.
Users will then have to activate the test online, collect their own sample from their nose, package it in the prepaid overnight envelope and call FedEx at 1-800-463-3339 to schedule a pickup.
Results are promised within 48 hours after the lab receives the sample.
These test kit are also for immediate use only and samples have to be shipped back within 3-5 days of receiving them.
Four free kits from the Biden Administration
Every home in the U.S. can get four free at-home COVID-19 tests kits that can be ordered online here.
These tests are different. They’re rapid antigen at-home tests that give results within 30 minutes and don’t need to be dropped off at a lab.
The tests usually take longer to arrive, with orders usually shipping in 7-12 days.
Get it from a pharmacy, have it reimbursed
Stores like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart are selling at-home COVID-19 rapid test kits that produce results within minutes.
At-home COVID-19 tests available at U.S. stores include Abbott BinaxNOW, Acon FlowFlex, Quidel Quickvue, Ellume and Pixel by LabCorp. Here are full lists of the FDA’s antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests that have been authorized for home use.
The tests will either be free directly at the point of sale (if your health plan provides for direct coverage), or by reimbursement if you are charged for your test.
Health insurance companies in the U.S. will pay people back for eight at-home tests per month.
The insurers are required to cover over-the-counter tests purchased on or after Jan. 15, 2022. That means those who purchased kits from a pharmacy on or after that date can call their health plan providers to ask about getting reimbursed for tests.
If you are charged, be sure to keep your receipt in case you need to submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Insurance companies are required to reimburse you at a rate of up to $12 per test (or the cost of the test, if less than $12).
More information on getting reimbursed can be found here.
Getting tested in person
Besides getting an at-home test kit, residents can get tested in person at one of many testing sites across the county.
Here the county and city websites to visit to find a testing location near you:
You can also use Curative’s map to find a testing location near you, and filter it for sites that accept walk-ins.
Many pharmacy locations offer PCR and rapid coronavirus testing too, including:
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