Costs for Covid tests and treatments may rise after federal emergency declarations end in May


The White House has announced an end date for national. And public health emergencies related to the coronavirus. Which have been in place since early 2020.
Covid testing and treatment may no longer be free for all. After the federal government’s emergency declaration ends in May. But most people still don’t have to pay for Covid vaccinations. According to two reports released last week by KFF, a non-profit health think tank.

Costs for Covid tests and treatments may rise after federal emergency declarations end in May (1)

The White House announced on Monday. That it will allow the national and public health emergency related to the Covid pandemic to end on May 11. The former is operational from March 2020 and the latter from January 2020.

It would also end some federal rules that ease costs for consumers — for example. The rule that insurance companies cover eight home Covid tests a month. Yet, other laws, such as the Affordable Care Act. Ensure that vaccines remain free for people with insurance.

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment. On how various coronavirus-related costs will change after May 11.

Here are some expected changes according to KFF.

Insurance no longer has to cover home tests
Beginning in early 2022, the Biden administration will need private insurers. And Medicare to cover up to eight home tests a month.

But once a public health emergency is lifted. Most people with private insurance. Will likely have to pay out of pocket for those tests. unless the kits come from dwindling federal supplies. Said one of the authors of the two reports, Jennifer Cates, a senior vice president at KFF.

“For the most part, health plans probably aren’t going to cover it. Some might, but most won’t,” Cates said.

People with Medicare and those without insurance. will also likely be charged for home testing. Yet, some people with Medicare Advantage, which covers extra services. May still have home tests covered depending on their plan.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, people. On Medicaid can get free home tests for about a year after a public health emergency ends. After that, the coverage for home-away testing will vary by state.

The Biden administration has not indicated any plans to. Offer more free home testing beyond what is currently offered.

The cost of PCR testing will vary depending on the situation
Most private insurers will continue to cover the cost of PCR. Or laboratory tests, performed by network providers. But these insurers may need doctors’ orders. Limit the number of tests covered per person, charge for doctors’ visits. Or make tests subject to copays or deductibles, according to KFF.

Medicare will continue to cover PCR tests. But there may be costs for people with Medicare Advantage.

People without insurance will likely have to pay for PCR tests. unless the tests are primarily purchased by the federal government. or administered free through clinics or community health centers.

Paxlovide and other antiviral treatments will eventually cost money
Oral antivirals purchased by the federal government. Will remain free to all until the national supply runs out. Regardless of when the public health emergency ends. These include paxlovide, a treatment for people with mild to moderate Covid at high risk. Of severe disease. But after the supply runs out, most people. including those with private insurance or Medicare. Will likely be charged for the pill according to their plan.

People with Medicare Part D, which helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Can get paxlovid for free through December 2024, Cates said.

Most people will still get the vaccine at no cost
The Covid vaccine and booster will be free for people. With Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. But, depending on their plan. Some people with private insurance may still be charged. If they get vaccinated through out-of-network providers.

Uninsured adults do not have to pay for federally purchased. Covid shots, because the federal supply still contains doses. But once that dose runs out, they’ll likely be charged.

“Unless it’s a federally purchased vaccine or treatment or test. The insured has no guarantee of coverage,” Cates said.

Children without insurance will still be eligible for free Covid shots. Through the Disease Control and Prevention Vaccines for Children program. But their family may be charged for visiting the office.

President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget includes funding. To create a “vaccines for adults” program for children. If realized, the program would cover the cost of all vaccinations recommended. For uninsured people; No timeline for that yet.

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