New federal guidance: Health plans to cover cost of rapid antigen home tests

A message from Kaiser Permanente

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While Kaiser Permanente has provided over 68,000 daily tests, demand currently exceeds capacity. Rapid antigen home tests, also called rapid COVID tests or self tests, offer another way to help reduce the spread. Health plans are now reimbursing members for these at-home tests.

Kaiser Permanente to cover cost of COVID-19 rapid antigen home tests

Following guidance from the Biden administration, Kaiser Permanente will now reimburse members for FDA-approved rapid antigen home tests. Submit a reimbursement claim here for tests purchased on or after January 15, 2022.

Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of rapid antigen home tests. Kaiser Permanente, like other health care organizations, has access to a very limited supply of tests. We are working to get tests and make them available to our members through a number of outlets, including mail-order. We will share further details as they become available.

How to get FDA-approved rapid antigen home tests

  • Starting January 19, you can request free rapid antigen tests, without shipping fees, from the federal government.
  • Rapid antigen home tests are also available at your local drugstore or online. Kaiser Permanente will reimburse members for FDA-approved rapid antigen home tests purchased on or after January 15, 2022.
  • In the coming days, as supply of tests increases, we will make more rapid antigen home tests available to you. Visit for the most up-to-date information on supply, testing, and vaccinations.

Guidance on types of COVID-19 tests

Rapid antigen home tests are a fast, easy way to get a quick result if you have symptoms, think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or plan to gather indoors with those who may be at risk including unvaccinated children, older individuals, and those who are immunocompromised. Results are typically available within 30 minutes.

PCR tests are usually processed in a lab and results are typically available in 1‑3 days, but may take longer during periods of high demand. At Kaiser Permanente, PCR tests are required for members who are coming in for certain clinical procedures that require a negative test in advance. For more detail, visit our COVID-19 testing FAQs.

Visit page for local updates. You can also call our 24/7 KP COVID Vaccine InfoLine at 1-855-550-0951 (available in English and Spanish) for regular recorded updates.