The Biden Administration declared on January 30 that the COVID-19 pandemic would no longer be regarded as a national or public health emergency in the United States on May 11.
That action goes beyond mere symbolism. Additionally, it implies that the government will only cover the cost of things like COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and treatments, which may result in adjustments to many of the free initiatives Americans have grown to rely on during the pandemic.
End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: What Does It Mean?
Although it’s unclear how the public health emergency will end, here are some predictions made by health policy experts on how it could affect you.
Jennifer Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The New York Times that the largest difference that most consumers will notice is that they most likely won’t be eligible for eight free at-home Covid tests each month through their insurance anymore.
Before the emergency declaration expires, Dr. Kates advised individuals to stock up on free tests that could be accessible at their neighborhood library or a COVID-19 testing facility. After that, private insurance holders will have to pay the total price at pharmacies for COVID-19 at-home testing.
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However, those at-home kits have a shelf life, so your supply will eventually run out. nonetheless, the US Many test kit expiration dates have been extended by the Food and Drug Administration. Thus their shelf life may be longer than indicated on the label. You may get a list of the most recent expiration dates on the FDA website.
Dr. Kates also mentioned that the public could also be subject to additional co-pays for medical procedures like PCR testing and prescription medications like Paxlovid. Although the exact cost of these co-pays is not yet known, they will likely be similar to the price of any prescription drugs or medical tests that are advised by a doctor.
What About Vaccines, Treatments, and Tests?
The White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, stressed recently on Twitter that the conclusion of the public health emergency does not imply that “people will suddenly not be able to get the vaccines and treatments they need.”
“On May 12, you can still walk into a pharmacy and get your bivalent vaccine. For free,” Jha wrote in the Twitter thread.
“On May 12, if you get COVID, you can still get your Paxlovid [anti-COVID medicines]. For free. None of that changes,” he added.
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