DENVER (KDVR) — COVID is still around, but the emergency protocols surrounding the pandemic are about to end. The federal designation of the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency will end on May 11. In response, some of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment has shared some rules that are about to change.
- At-home COVID-19 tests will no longer be free. Insurance companies will no longer be required to cover the cost of at-home test kits. While some private insurers may continue to cover all or some home tests, there will be no longer be a nationwide rule.
- Expect to pay more for any COVID-19 tests performed at a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. The requirement barring insurers from charging copays, or any other cost-sharing fees related to COVID-19 testing during the PHE ends next month.
- COVID-19 coverage is scheduled to lapse for seniors and others in the federal government’s Medicare program. Without coverage, those on Medicare could be on the hook for potentially significant out of-pocket costs related to COVID-19. Some members of Congress are currently petitioning the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to extend the Medicare coverage, but people who depend on Medicare should be on the lookout for any changes in their plan.
- COVID-19 vaccines and treatment drugs will remain free for the time being. Under the federal Vaccines for Children program, COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be available at no cost for children through 18 years of age who are uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid or Medicaid eligible, and/or Alaskan Native or American Indian. Plus, the COVID-19 vaccine is considered preventive care. Currently, COVID-19 vaccinations are covered under Medicare Part B without cost sharing, and this will continue. Private insurance plans and Health First Colorado, the state’s Medicaid program and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), will also continue to cover the vaccine at no charge to enrolled members.
- State mobile bus vaccination clinics will operate until May 11, 2023
The department said it continues to advocate the general public health protocols of hand-washing, wearing a mask if infected and staying home if sick.