The White House announced that it is extending the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency for one more time. The two declarations were set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively.
In a press release, the Biden administration said that both emergency orders will come to an end on May 11.
In December, Congress enacted an orderly wind-down of these rules to ensure that patients did not lose access to care unpredictably and that state budgets don’t face a radical cliff. If the PHE were suddenly terminated, it would sow confusion and chaos into this critical wind-down. Due to this uncertainty, tens of millions of Americans could be at risk of abruptly losing their health insurance, and states could be at risk of losing billions of dollars in funding," the White House said.
"This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE."
Once the public health emergency is lifted, many Americans will have to pay for COVID testing and treatment. While Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay out of pocket for at-home tests and treatments, vaccines will continue to be provided at no cost, as will tests ordered by a physician. In addition, state Medicaid programs will continue to cover vaccines and COVID tests ordered by a doctor.
Those with private insurance will also get vaccines free of charge, but only if they go to in-network providers.
“People will have to start paying some money for things they didn’t have to pay for during the emergency,” Jen Kates, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNN. “That’s the main thing people will start to notice.”