The national public health and emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic ended on May 11, 2023. While the declarations ended, this does not mean the COVID-19 virus has been eradicated. COVID-19 cases are down. However, the virus remains a leading cause of death in the United States.
CDC advises that everyone get vaccinated, get the latest booster, use at-home tests if you’ve been exposed or have symptoms, stay home if you’re sick and wear a high-quality mask when COVID-19 levels are high. These precautions are the best ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
The availability, access, and costs of COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, are determined by the supply of federally purchased vaccines, not the public health emergency. As long as federally purchased vaccines last, COVID-19 vaccines will remain free to all people, regardless of insurance coverage. Providers of federally purchased vaccines are not allowed to charge patients or deny vaccines based on the recipient’s coverage or network status.
After the federal supply is gone, vaccines will continue to be free of charge to the vast majority of people with private and public insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. However, costs may become a barrier for uninsured and underinsured individuals when federally purchased doses are depleted. Individuals without health insurance should contact the Health Department at 610-344-6225 or [email protected].
At-Home COVID-19 Tests
At-home/over-the-counter tests may become more costly for people with insurance. People with traditional Medicare will no longer receive free, at-home tests. Those with private insurance and Medicare Advantage will no longer be guaranteed free at-home tests, but some insurers may continue to voluntarily cover them. For those on Medicaid, at-home tests will be covered at no-cost through September 2024. After that date, home test coverage will vary by state.
Individuals without health insurance will have to pay for at-home tests, or can contact a free clinic or health center if they cannot afford the cost. Check your local pharmacy, urgent care, or a healthcare provider for tests.
People who are enrolled in Medicare or Medicare Part D may start to see new cost-sharing (co-pays) for treatment.
If you have Medicaid or CHIP, medications will continue to be available free of cost for the rest of 2023. That will likely change in 2024.
Any pharmaceutical treatment doses (e.g. Paxlovid) purchased by the federal government are still free to all, regardless of insurance coverage. This is based on the availability of the federal supply and is not affected by the end of the public health emergency.