Planning Ahead: What to Know About Telehealth Coverage After the End of the COVID-19 Emergency
The Biden Administration this week announced that it plans to end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11. This means that while Americans will still have access to free vaccines, tests and treatments, they may have to pay for out of pocket costs for testing and treatments. Furthermore, some of the telehealth coverage afforded during the pandemic will remain in place at least through the end of next year, thanks to the recent passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
For those with private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, most COVID-19 tests and treatments should be covered after May 11th. However, those who are uninsured could start having to pay for their tests and treatments. In addition, people on Medicaid will have free tests through September 2024, after which point, states may limit the number of covered tests or impose nominal cost-sharing.
For Medicare patients, some of the telehealth coverage afforded during the pandemic will remain in place at least through the end of next year. Private plans will generally continue to have discretion over the types of telehealth services they cover, while states have the authority to cover telehealth without federal approval.
It is important to note that while the public health emergency is ending, the availability of telehealth will no longer be geographically restricted and access to telehealth services will remain unchanged through December 31, 2024. However, some of the flexibilities associated with providing health care via telehealth during the public health emergency will end.
Overall, it is essential to plan ahead and be aware of what coverage you may have when the public health emergency ends in May. It is also important to note that regardless of insurance status, COVID-19 vaccines will remain free as long as federally purchased vaccines last.
0. “As COVID-19 emergency relief ends in May, people say they still need help” 13newsnow.com WVEC, 1 Feb. 2023, https://www.13newsnow.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/covid-19-emergency-relief-ends-may-people-need-help/291-64acafa8-e5c4-420f-8852-003d4d3a0a08
1. “Millions of New Yorkers will feel health care change as COVID emergency ends. Here's how.” Gothamist, 6 Feb. 2023, https://gothamist.com/news/millions-of-new-yorkers-will-feel-health-care-change-as-covid-emergency-ends-heres-how
2. “The End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Details on Health Coverage and Access” KFF, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/the-end-of-the-covid-19-public-health-emergency-details-on-health-coverage-and-access/