iHealth COVID-19

The free iHealth COVID-19 antigen rapid tests from the federal government are shown on a U.S. Postal Service envelope. The home-delivery program ends this week.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon stop mailing free at-home COVID tests due to lack of congressional funding, the agency said Sunday.

The White House and the CDC told CNN that in the absence of funding, there’s a need to preserve supply for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases this fall, so the program will be suspended on Friday.

“Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests,” reads the CDC website.

“We have warned that congressional inaction would force unacceptable tradeoffs and harm our overall COVID-19 preparedness and response — and that the consequences would likely worsen over time,” a White House official told CNN. “Unfortunately, because of the limited funding we have to work with, we have had to make impossible choices about which tools and programs to invest in — and which ones we must downsize, pause, or end all together.”

Since the beginning of the year, the federal government has mailed tests to households at no charge. The program started as omicron took over in January. A second round became available in May.

All is not lost, however. Free testing is still available at retailers and pharmacies, and insurers are still required to provide or reimburse up to eight tests monthly to clients free of charge.

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