End of Public Health Emergency: What You Need to Know

End of Public Health Emergency: What You Need to Know

On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it will end the public health emergency (and national emergency) declarations on May 11, 2023. Currently, the government is still offering free COVID-19 at-home tests to individuals, while Medicare is sending free tests out to their recipients monthly and those on private insurance are also offered free monthly tests.

So, what does this mean for the future of COVID-19 testing? What can you expect? Let’s take a deeper look at what you can expect. Below is what major health policies will and won’t change when the public health emergency ends.

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What changes will we see?

With COVID-19 At-Home tests still needed throughout the country, let’s discuss what we know so far...

  • Government Provided Tests
  • The government will no longer mail free COVID-19 tests to households through the United States Postal Service.
  • However, there is a possibility the government will still provide free tests while supplies last.
  • Those uninsured will start having to pay out of pocket for COVID-19 at-home tests.
  • Private Insurance Testing
  • People with private health insurance may have to pay for Covid tests, both over the counter and lab, depending on their plan.
  • Individuals with private health insurance may encounter a co-pay for P.C.R testing, even when ordered by a doctor.
  • Medicare and Medicaid Recipients
  • Seniors with Medicare Part B will start paying for over-the-counter tests, though the program will cover lab tests – rather than automatically sending tests out to Medicare recipients.
  • People on Medicaid will be able to access Covid tests and treatments at no cost until 2024.
  • Seniors with Medicare may encounter a co-pay for P.C.R testing, even when ordered by a doctor
  • What else may be affected
  • Hospitals
  • Will lose flexibility to expand capacity in response to surges.
  • Reporting
  • The federal government can no longer require labs to report Covid test results to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Treatment
  • Individuals (including those on Medicare, and private health insurance) may have new co-pays for treatments like Paxlovid.

While we still don’t know the full spectrum of changes to come in May of 2023, each insurance company is different – you will want to reach out directly to your insurance provider. To find out more information about COVID-19 testing and insurance reimbursements overall – click here

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What Will Remain? 

With COVID-19 At-Home tests needed throughout the country, let’s address some of the issues that others have faced, and for you to avoid.

  • FDA’s EUAs for COVID-19 products
  • Including tests, vaccines, and treatments - will not be affected.
  • Medicare and Medicaid Recipients
  • Major Medicare telehealth flexibilities will not be affected.
  • Medicaid telehealth flexibilities will not be affected.
  • The process for states to begin eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid will not be affected.
  • COVID-19 Vaccinations and Treatment
  • Access to COVID-19 vaccinations and certain treatments, such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio, will generally not be affected.
  • Many Americans will continue to pay nothing out-of-pocket for the COVID-19 vaccine.

What Can You Do? 

While we still don’t have all the answers of what is to come in May, we recommend you stock up on COVID-19 free at-home tests, whether through the government or your insurance provider. Take advantage of what is still available until May 11th. Infections will continue exist, even though the Public Health Emergency is ending, that doesn’t mean COVID is ending with it.

Additionally, double check the tests you may already have to ensure they aren’t close to expiring. Continue to stay aware of the infection rate in your area. Stay safe. Wear a mask in public spaces, like public transportation and other highly populated areas. Don’t stop testing. COVID-19 is still highly contagious, testing ensures you keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy.

Rapid Antigen at-home testing is a quick, easy, and accurate way to know your COVID-19 status so you can continue living your life without worry.

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