“With more than two years having passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, questions are being raised about when to end the public health emergency declarations made by the federal government early on, with some advocating for their extension and others calling for their expiration,” Juliette Cubanski, Jennifer Kates, Madeline Guth, Karen Pollitz, MaryBeth Musumeci and Meredith Freed write over at Kaiser Family Foundation. “There are numerous implications to ending these emergency declarations, each of which gave the federal government flexibilities to waive or modify certain requirements in a range of areas, including in the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs, and in private health insurance, as well as to allow for the authorization of medical countermeasures and to provide liability immunity to providers who administer services, among other things. In addition, Congress also enacted legislation that provided additional flexibilities tied to one or more of these emergency declarations, and as such they too are scheduled to expire when (or at a specified time after) the emergency period(s) expires.This brief provides an overview of the major health-related Covid-19 federal emergency declarations that have been made, summarizes the flexibilities triggered by each, and identifies the implications for their ending, in the following areas: Coverage, costs, and payment for Covid-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines; Medicaid coverage and federal match rates; Telehealth; Other Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities; Other Medicare payment and coverage flexibilities; Other private insurance coverage flexibilities; Access to medical countermeasures (vaccines, tests, and treatments) through FDA emergency use authorization (EUA); Liability immunity to administer medical countermeasures.” Juliette Cubanski, Jennifer Kates, Madeline Guth, Karen Pollitz, MaryBeth Musumeci and Meredith Freed, “What Happens When COVID-19 Emergency Declarations End? Implications for Coverage, Costs, and Access,” KFF.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder