On June 23, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a new initiative to expand the availability of testing options that are more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. Through the initiative, blind and low-vision users have been able to order Ellume COVID home tests, which are more accessible than other options. The more accessible tests remained available for order by people who are blind or who have low vision when the program that provided free at-home test kits to every household was suspended on September 2.
On December 15, 2022, the free test kit program re-opened, and every household can now place one new order for either the more accessible tests or the standard tests.
Supplies of the more accessible tests are limited, so people are asked to order them only if they do not have a way to use the other types of tests, such as assistive technology or a trusted family member or friend who can assist (in person or via video call).
How to order:
- You can order the more accessible tests for people who are blind or who have low vision by calling the Disability Information and Access Line at 888-677-1199.
- Beginning December 15, the more accessible test kits also can be ordered online through a special web page .
- If you are able to use the standard tests, you can order them online at COVID.gov or by calling 1-888-677-1199.
Each household is limited to one order. You cannot place an order for both the standard tests and the more accessible tests.
What makes the Ellume tests more accessible
The test works with a smartphone app to provide:
- Audio step-by-step instructions for administering the test.
- Audio test results.
Supplemental instructions for blind and low vision users
The Ellume COVID-19 home test was found by blind users to be more accessible than the other at-home tests currently available. The test was not created specifically for blind users, and it is not perfectly accessible, but blind users have found that they could use this test independently.
Some of the app functions, parts of the test itself, and portions of the instructions have created challenges users have had to navigate around. Based on the experiences people have shared -- and their suggestions for addressing some of the challenges -- we compiled these supplemental instructions to help people who are blind or who have low vision use the test.
To use the tests, you must
- Have a compatible Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
- Download and install a free app from the Apple App Store (for iOS) or Google Play Store (for Android).
Other ways to get at-home COVID tests
If you are covered by Medicare:
Medicare will pay for up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month, including the Ellume tests. This includes people with Medicare Advantage plans.
Call ahead to make sure your local retailer has the Ellume tests in stock.
Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) with any questions.
If you have private insurance:
- Your insurer may provide reimbursement for more accessible tests.
Call your plan to learn more about how they will reimburse you for the cost of tests.
- Call ahead to make sure your local retailer has them in stock.
Need more assistance?
The trained staff at the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) can provide additional assistance with:
- Ordering the Ellume tests through this program.
- Providing alternative instructions for traditional at-home tests, which may make it possible for blind and low-vision users to use those tests.
- For those who cannot use an at-home test, DIAL operators can:
Assist with ordering “swab and send” kits to collect a sample and mail it back for results.
Connect callers to local organizations for assistance locating other testing options in their community, including in-home testing programs or transportation or companion support to visit a community-based testing site.
Call 888-677-1199 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern) or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.