Today’s Infectious Disease News (11/15/22)

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Biden Administration Extends Public Health Emergency Status for 90 Days

The Biden administration has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency status through the end of January 2023. The two main reasons for keeping the emergency status in place are the anticipated spike in COVID-19 this winter and the time needed to transition away from public health protections to a private market.

The emergency declaration, which has been renewed every 3 months since it was first instituted in March 2020, has provided critical resources to families and healthcare systems. Most Americans have had access to free vaccines, tests and some treatments throughout the pandemic. When the emergency status expires, the government will no longer provide free tests and treatments. Government officials says private insurance will likely cover the full cost of vaccines and boosters for people enrolled in private plans. People with private insurance will, however, have to pay for part of the cost of tests and treatments. While uninsured children will still have access to vaccines at no cost, adults without insurance have not been guaranteed free vaccines. Currently, 25 million adults lack insurance and there is also no firm plan to help these Americans pay for tests and treatments. Health officials project that an additional 15 million people will lose their insurance because the emergency status requires states to keep people continuously enrolled in Medicaid.

Full Story: Reuters