Today’s Infectious Disease News (2/1/23)

End of COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Means Americans Will Have to Pay for

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End of COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Means Americans Will Have to Pay for Treatments, Tests and Vaccines

President Biden announced that he will end the COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 11. The emergency declaration, which has been in effect since January of 2020, has allowed to government to provide free COVID-19 test, vaccines and treatments to many Americans. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also prevented people receiving Medicaid from losing their benefits while the emergency declaration was in effect. When declaration expires, millions of people will lose their coverage over the next year. People enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans have been eligible for free COVID-19 tests and vaccines, while recipients of Medicare and private insurance have had access to as many as eight at-home tests each month from retail stores. Many state Medicaid programs have offered participants free rapid antigen tests. The public health emergency status also ensured Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries were not charged for treatments such as monoclonal antibodies.

The prices individuals will pay for treatments, vaccines and tests depends their insurance status. On May 11 Medicare recipients generally will be charged out-of-pocket costs for at-home tests and treatments. Vaccines will continue to be free and tests ordered by a healthcare provider will be fully covered. People with Medicare or Medicaid will not be charged for vaccines. Those with private insurance will not be charge for vaccines unless it is given by an out of network provider. State Medicaid programs will have to continue covering COVID-19 tests ordered by a physician and vaccines at no charge. However, people on Medicaid could still be charged for treatments. People who have private insurance may incur fees for lab tests even if ordered by a physician.

Full Story: CNN