Saturday, May 27, 2023

How the end of the COVID health emergency affects your Medicare; Why is Medicaid still treating COVID-19 as a public health emergency? and other C-Virus related stories

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How the end of the COVID health emergency affects your Medicare:
The COVID-19 public health emergency that started in January 2020 ended on May 11. When that happened, several Medicare rules and waivers that went into effect during the pandemic came to an end — and it may catch Medicare patients by surprise.
Many of the changes were made to accommodate the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic — when hospitals were mobbed, people were encouraged not to leave their homes and patients found themselves getting medical care in unusual places. Some changes — like increased usage of telehealth — are sticking around for the near future.
Here are a few things Medicare beneficiaries can expect from their benefits post-pandemic.
COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines
During the public health emergency, or PHE, Medicare and Medicare Advantage covered up to eight at-home COVID tests per month, as well as COVID-19 testing-related services and antiviral treatments like Paxlovid.
You'll now pay out of pocket for at-home COVID-19 tests, although some Medicare Advantage plans may continue to cover them. COVID-19 vaccines will be covered under preventive care. COVID-19antiviral treatments, such as Paxlovid, will also continue to be covered, but you may owe a copay or coinsurance for other pharmaceutical treatments for COVID-19, according to KFF, a health policy nonprofit.
Telehealth --->READ MORE HERE
Why is Medicaid still treating COVID-19 as a public health emergency?
The federal public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic came to an end Thursday, more than three years after it was first enacted in 2020. That comes on the heels of the World Health Organization's declaration on May 5 that COVID-19 was no longer a global health emergency.
And on the same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would stop tracking new cases. In other words, the pandemic is largely behind us. Yet Medicaid is still covering over-the-counter COVID-19 tests for beneficiaries free of charge. That makes little sense. No other payor is under the same obligation. Provisions requiring Medicare and private insurers to cover up to eight at-home tests per month for free expired along with the public health emergency.
But under the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed in 2021, state Medicaid plans must continue offering at-home tests to enrollees free of charge. The requirement won't sunset until the end of September 2024 — roughly a year and a half after the end of the public health emergency. Why are taxpayers covering the cost of tests for a virus that no longer constitutes a public health crisis? It's not cheap. Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program cover 93 million people. Even assuming just one test per person over the next 16 months, the additional cost would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

The next pandemic ‘even deadlier’ than COVID is coming, warns WHO

COVID vaccine stocks light up amid fears of new infections in China

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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