Pharmacies Drop Limits For At-Home COVID Tests

( According to the New York Times, nearly all CVS and Walgreens locations nationwide have not only increased their inventory of over-the-counter rapid COVID test kits but also lifted the limits on how many a customer can purchase.

The run on at-home COVID tests, spurred by breathless, panicked reporting on the far milder Omicron variant was so bad, back in December, both companies announced they were capping the number of tests bought in stores and online. CVS limited one-time purchases to six tests per customer, while Walgreens limited purchases to only four tests per customer. But even with those limits in place, many customers were still unable to obtain even a single COVID test.

But now that the Omicron surge is ending, the need for a cap on purchases is gone.

Meanwhile, in December, the Biden administration unveiled a website where Americans could order four at-home COVID tests per household at no charge. These tests would be delivered through the US Postal Service. Problem is, by the time the program began, the Omicron surge was already beginning to end.

And while the White House said it already mailed out tens of millions of tests, deliveries have been sketchy at best. While some received their free tests within the 7 to 10-day window promised, some waited weeks and others are still waiting.

In short, most of the millions of tests paid for by American taxpayers will arrive just in time to be irrelevant.

Undeterred, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced this week that Medicare, which covers approximately 60 million Americans, would begin providing free COVID test kits.

Medicare Part B recipients will be able to receive up to eight tests a month beginning in “early spring.” These tests will be handed out at participating drug stores and other locations.

People enrolled in Medicare Advantage will also have access to free COVID test kits as part of their plan.