While Covid may not be front-page news as much these days, it is still out there. That’s why it’s important to stock up on Covid test kits. This article explains how you can find or request free Covid test kits in Maine.
Free Covid test kits for MaineCare participants
If you happen to be on MaineCare, you can get your free Covid test kits right here in Maine. That is, Mainers with MaineCare and parents of children covered by CubCare can obtain free at-home test kits at retail pharmacies that accept MaineCare.
To use MaineCare benefits you must check out at the pharmacy counter with proof of MaineCare or CubCare coverage. For any questions on how this freebie works, you can call the MaineCare Pharmacy Help Desk 1-866-796-2463.
Free test kits from the Federal government
Once again, the Federal government is making free Covid test kits available to Americans who request them. However, there is a caveat: if you got test kits in the last go-around of free kits, you cannot order them this time.
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order an additional 4 free at-home tests. That began on November 20. As I mentioned, if you did not order tests this fall, you may place two orders for a total of 8 tests. Your order of COVID tests is completely free – you won’t even pay for shipping as the USPS sends them for free.
I wasn’t sure when we last ordered our free tests. So I searched back in my email inbox for a USPS confirmation that the kits had shipped. When was that? December of 2022, so we’re definitely eligible to get new ones.
You can use this link to request your free tests, if you’re eligible.
Covid test expiration dates
People started getting Covid tests to use at home in 2021 or 2022. And you may have some that you haven’t used yet that seem to have expired. That may not be true.
Some of the Covid test manufacturers have extended the expiration dates, with the FDA’s blessings. That’s because further research determined that these tests would continue to perform as expected, even after the expiration date on the package had come and gone.
Many tests had an expiration date extended between 21 and 24 months from the original expiration date. You can check the FDA website for included tests.
I just checked the Covid tests that we have. All appear to have expired. This includes:
- Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test from Acon Laboratories
- Clinitest Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test from Siemens Healthineers
- QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test from Quidel
Some of these boxes have stickers that show an extended expiration date. For example, the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test from Acon Laboratories says this on the side of the box:
“Disregard Exp. Date printed on the pouch. Note: New Exp. Date above.”
And that date is 11/5/2023, so definitely expired now. What was the original date on the pouch? 2/6/2022. The Quidel test had an expiration date of 3/6/2023. However, according to the FDA, that expiration date was extended four months only, to 7/6/2023.
However, the Clinitest Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test from Siemens Heathlineers was supposed to expire in December 2022. According to the FDA, the new expiration date is January 2024. So, that’s good for us. Too bad we only have one of these tests left.
Bottom line: we need to order more at-home Covid tests