Get Free COVID-19 Home Tests

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Did you know you can get free COVID-19 home tests? They're easy to use, and rapid home tests give results in minutes.

You may be able to pick up free home tests at a North Carolina organization near you, while supplies last. NCDHHS partnered with local organizations, called Community Access Points, for test distribution.

Get free tests near you:

Must be 14 or older to pick up tests. Call before you go to check availability.

I feel sick or was exposed to COVID-19. When should I test?

Take steps now to prevent possible spread, including staying away from others.

If you feel sick or have symptoms: Get tested immediately.

If you were exposed to COVID-19: Get tested at least five full days after your last exposure – even if you don’t develop symptoms.

I got tested. Now what? What to do when you have your test result.

More testing options

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You may be able to buy rapid tests from a local or online pharmacy using insurance (including Medicaid) or get reimbursed.

Don't have insurance? More people can get NC Medicaid as of Dec. 1, 2023. You may be eligible to have your COVID-19 vaccine, testing and treatment covered at no-cost by Medicaid. Apply now.

If you have private insurance

Some health plans reimbursed the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests during the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE). Since the PHE ended in May 2023, private insurance companies are no longer required to cover the full cost of tests.

Check your insurance's policy on at-home test reimbursement:

Don't see your health insurance provider listed? Please check their website.

If you have NC Medicaid coverage

North Carolina Medicaid program guidelines allow you to get free at-home COVID rapid tests at no cost. Beneficiaries can select at-home tests at your preferred pharmacy and show your NC Medicaid ID card for no out-of-pocket cost. The pharmacist will bill Medicaid on your behalf.

Questions? Contact Medicaid and NC Health Choice Claims and Billing at (800)-688-6696.

If you have Medicare coverage

You can access testing through your health care provider or local pharmacist. Or, pick up free at-home rapid tests at Medicare-certified health clinics.

Currently, original Medicare does not pay for at-home tests for individuals’ purchases. However, Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage and payment for at-home COVID-19 tests. If you're covered by Medicare Advantage, be sure to check your plan. 

These locations in North Carolina may offer PCR or rapid tests at low- or no-cost:

Or, search for no-cost testing locations on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's map.

You can also go to your health care provider if you have one. Don't have insurance? More people can get NC Medicaid as of Dec. 1, 2023. You may be eligible to have your COVID-19 vaccine, testing and treatment covered at no-cost by Medicaid. Apply now.

Test to Treat sites

Some testing locations also have treatment available if you test positive and are eligible. Get tested, assessed by a provider and treated in one visit. How Test to Treat works. Search for a Test to Treat site near you.

I got tested. Now what?

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Here’s what you should do if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result: 

  1. Follow current CDC Respiratory Virus Guidelines
  2. Tell your close contacts that you have COVID-19.
  3. Wear a well-fitting mask if you must be around others.

Treatments are available, and research shows they decrease your risk of hospitalization and death — if you get them in time. Don’t wait to see if your symptoms get worse. If you feel sick, even a little, take steps to get treated nowGetting treatment may cost nothing, so there’s no reason to delay. 

Note: Seek medical care immediately if you have trouble breathing or experience other warning signs.

While a positive test confirms you have an infection, a negative test only shows that it didn’t detect the virus but does not rule out an infection. So, here’s what you should consider after receiving a negative COVID-19 test result using an at-home test.

If you have symptoms:

  • Test again in 48 hours.
  • Consider talking with a healthcare provider. You may need to get tested for other respiratory illnesses.
  • Follow current CDC Respiratory Virus Guidelines

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19: 

  • Test again in 48 hours. 
  • If your second test is also negative, test again 48 hours later for a total of three tests.

Resume regular activities if: 

  • You were tested for another reason, like workplace screening. 
  • You do not have known or suspected contact with someone who has COVID-19. 
  • You have no symptoms. 

More resources

COVID-19 testing guidance flyer preview

Download and share our testing guidance flyer

  • Prevention actions
  • Knowing when to test
  • Choosing the right test

More languages: Spanish

More testing flyers to download and share

Still have questions about testing? Visit the CDC’s website for the latest information.