The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced Monday that it had awarded contracts to Atlantic Trading, LLC, of Austin, Texas and Medea, Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., that would purchase a combined total of 27 million over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits.
The contracts will support President Joe Biden’s plan to provide 500 million free at-home COVID-19 test kits to the country in response to the spread of the omicron variant of COVID. The awards bring to 50 million the total number of test kits ordered by the U.S. government, a White House official told Reuters.
The contracts were awarded in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The contracts come as the White House has announced that insurers will have to cover up to eight over-the-counter at-home COVID test kits per person, starting Jan. 15. There is no limit to the number of tests, including at-home tests, that insurers must cover if they are ordered or administered by health care professionals, the White House said. A recent surge in coronavirus cases and in testing has made the kits highly sought-after.
The DoD’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense led the test kit contract effort in partnership with the DoD’s Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell, Army Contracting Command, and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (APSR). The contract was funded with American Rescue Plan Act dollars to supply critical medical resources to Americans.