Easiest way to get a bunch more Covid tests for the least cost?

Allergy season definitely started for me yesterday with a ton of coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. This is normal for this time of year, I’ve had allergies as long as I can remember and usually bad ones.

After taking a Covid test this morning (negative), I notice I’m down to three tests. I immediately ordered the second batch of 4 free tests from the USPS, I’ve used up the first batch.

My job was also giving us free Covid tests, I ordered some last year. I went to order more and that link is nowhere to be found. I’ll contact HR on Monday to see if the benefit has been removed now that the free tests from the government are available.

I do have medical and prescription drug coverage and I’ve heard that health insurance in the USA also covers Covid tests. Anyone had experience with this? I haven’t used any of the insurance this year, I assume Covid tests would be less than the deductible? Contacting a health insurance company is not one of my favorite things, especially on a weekend, but I guess I need to as well.

I’m going to try to test fairly frequently. Not only do I not want to come down with Covid and just mistake it for allergies, but I have an international trip scheduled for early May and don’t want anything to do with Covid around that time frame.

(Just what I found futzing around on Amazon – I have not used these tests personally)

These BD Veritor at-Home COVID-19 Digital Test kits are dirt-cheap in bulk right now (60 tests for $120 + shipping). I initially thought that this was probably too good to be true, so I went and looked up the FDA white paper on these kits (PDF).

The only “maybe” reservation I see is that the test does not distinguish between original-flavor SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID, see pg 2 of PDF). IMHO, however, SARS is sufficiently rare in the wild that I’d confidently treat any positive test as presumptive COVID.

Something else to think about is whether or not these tests are close to their expiration date. I’m not sure there is a way to tell before purchase. For a point of comparison, iHealth antigens tests I received from the US government via USPS in February 2022 expire in June 2022. For your purposes as described in your OP, tests that expire in 3 or 4 months might be acceptable.

As for the familiar iHealth tests (the orange box ones that have been coming from the US government), below is the cheapest place to buy those in bulk that I’ve found quickly. Minimum order is 20 boxes (= 40 tests) for $219.60 + shipping.

The Acon FlowFlex tests (which I’ve used and can vouch for) are cheaper per unit if you buy 50 tests – one test per box, 50 boxes minimum order, 50 x $4.99 = $249.50 + shipping.

Consider contacting your local Health Department, either city, county or state and asking to be directed to how to obtain more tests. My county health department distributed free tests through all the branches of the public library system, yours might as well.

Yesterday both stores I shopped at offered free N95 face masks as well (also arranged by the government). Those might help with your allergies.

FWIW, my local grocery has a display rack of $4.99 Covid tests at the checkout counter. It shouldn’t be hard to find cheap tests.

That’s what I’ve done today, fired off a bunch of emails to various elected officials asking them. I am also on pretty good terms with the staff at Walgreens, so I’ll ask them next time I’m in there as well.

I get ours from Walgreens. They said they are free with health insurance. Blue Cross allows four test kits per month, each does two tests.