Wisconsin DHS: Free COVID tests available to residents, once a month

Image of an iHealth at home Covid-19 rapid antigen test supplied for free by the U.S. Postal Service. Photographer: Angus Mordant/ Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Thursday, Nov. 17 that Wisconsinites can now order free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests and have them delivered directly to their house through the state-supported Say Yes! COVID Test program. 

Starting now, all Wisconsin households are eligible to place an order every month for one free test kit that contains five rapid antigen COVID-19 tests on the Say Yes! COVID Test website.

Testing helps people know if they have COVID-19 and if they need to take actions that will help limit the chance of spreading the virus to those around them by wearing a mask around others and staying home for five days as recommended by the CDC. In addition to the Say Yes! COVID Test program, Wisconsinites can access a COVID-19 test by:

  • Visiting a community testing site. There are currently more than 500 community testing sites across the state, many of which offer free COVID-19 testing.
  • Purchasing self-tests through pharmacies, retail outlets, or online. Self-tests are widely available at pharmacies and other retail stores across the state.
  • Using health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare plans to cover the cost of purchasing additional self-tests. Private insurers and some Medicare plans continue to cover the cost of eight rapid COVID-19 tests per member each month. Members of BadgerCare Plus and most Wisconsin Medicaid programs can also receive COVID-19 tests from Medicaid-enrolled pharmacies using their ForwardHealth ID card. People are encouraged to contact their health insurance provider for more information.
  • Contacting a health care provider. Your local or tribal health department, primary health care provider, or community health center can help find a test near you.

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To obtain reliable results and help stop the spread of COVID-19, it is important to know when to take a test. Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should take a test immediately. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should take a COVID-19 test five days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

If you test positive with a COVID-19 self-test, stay home for at least five days, separate yourself from others, and notify your close contacts. Contact a doctor, community health center, pharmacy, or the DHS free telehealth service to see if COVID-19 treatments may be recommended for you. Call the telehealth service number at 833-273-6330 or start the process online.

Be aware that the FDA has extended expiration dates for many COVID-19 self-tests, including the tests delivered through the Say Yes! COVID Test program. When you receive your tests, do not be concerned if the expiration date appears to have passed. Your tests are still reliable and good to use for up to an additional six months. Look up your package of test kits on the iHealth website by entering the lot number to find the specific extended expiration date.

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The Say Yes! COVID Test program is funded in part through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds.

For free, confidential support with placing an order for your household's test package or help with finding health care and community resources near you, dial 211 or 877-947-2211. For information, resources, and data related to COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit the COVID-19 webpage.