Testing at home is an important way to protect yourself and those around you when you may have a possible exposure to COVID-19. The federal government is providing every home in the U.S. with four free tests and is also expanding free at-home tests through neighborhood and rural clinics. Visit covidtests.gov to get free COVID-19 antigen self-tests delivered to your home.

The federal government also ordered private insurers to cover the cost of up to eight at-home tests per member per month.

  • CalPERS members enrolled in any Basic health plan, except Kaiser and Blue Shield, can use the OptumRX in-network preferred pharmacies such as Rite Aid, Sam’s Club, and Walmart.
  • Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield will provide tests through their standard pharmacy procedures. Visit Kaiser and Blue Shield for this information.

Test kits purchased outside the preferred pharmacies will be reimbursed up to $12 per test by completing and submitting a claim form to OptumRx, Kaiser, or Blue Shield directly.

CalPERS members enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplemental plans can get up to eight tests per calendar month from eligible pharmacies and health care providers. To find participating pharmacies, visit Medicare.gov.

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 one to three days. PCR tests may be required for members who are coming in for certain clinical procedures that require a negative test in advance.

For more detail on which type of test to use and how to use an at-home test, visit Testing for COVID-19 on the CDC website.