When Covid-19 Is No Longer Classified as a Public Health Emergency, There Are Four Ways That Americans Will Be Hit With Benefit Changes!
In only a few months, millions of Americans might see their federal payments curtailed.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services extended the COVID-19 public health emergency designation. On April 12, the 90-day designation was renewed, and it will expire in mid-July unless the Biden administration agrees to extend it.
Increased federal money for a number of programs, ranging from improved Medicaid access to more generous food assistance, is possible as a result of the emergency declaration. However, if the declaration expires, the additional cash may be lost.
On Twitter, Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, commented, “Prematurely announcing an end to the public health emergency slows the response to COVID-19.”
States will be given 60 days’ notice before the public health emergency ends, according to the Biden administration. Nonetheless, the epidemic is still going strong, and while new cases are still well below their winter highs, they’re on the rise again following a brief lull in early spring.
Here are four ways that Americans could be hit if more generous health and nutritional benefits are abruptly terminated.
The federal government’s additional food assistance is about to expire
The statement clears the way for the federal government to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, to help additional people.
According to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, eligible households receive at least an extra $95 per month in federal aid as a result of the public health emergency.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, most SNAP beneficiaries will lose $82 per month in benefits after this program ends.
This assistance is not available to everyone. Last year, some Republican-controlled states, such as Florida and Missouri, ended their expanded food aid programs.
According to The New Republic, at least five more GOP-controlled states plan to slash funds next month after ending their state public health emergency designations.
When the federal government eliminates the designation, the Department of Agriculture will give states one month to transfer users off of increased assistance.
Around 15 million people in the United States could lose their Medicaid coverage
Since the federal government will no longer be picking up the price for states, millions of low-income Americans will lose access to free health care through Medicaid.
Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states. In March 2020, Congress passed a pandemic relief bill that increased the federal government’s portion of payments for the length of the public health emergency.
Estimates of how much coverage will be lost once the emergency is ended differ. However, the Urban Institute estimates that between late 2021 and late 2022, up to 15 million Americans will lose Medicaid coverage over a 14-month period.
According to a recent report from the left-leaning Center on American Progress, hospitals are facing financial pressures as a result of an increase in uninsured patients, as well as people delaying medical treatment because they can’t pay it.
The research also stated that ending the program will have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income Black and Latino persons.
When compared to non-Hispanic Whites, these two groups are twice as likely to be enrolled in Medicaid, and they have seen higher hospitalization and death rates as a result of COVID-19.
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Shots for COVID-19 will not be free
Free COVID-19 shots will be scarcer than in the past.
The declaration of a public health emergency expanded Medicaid’s eligibility for free coronavirus immunizations.
People without health insurance, on the other hand, will have to start bearing the tab for some immunizations, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Those with private insurance, on the other hand, should be fine. Because vaccines are now considered preventative care, insurers must provide free access to them to their beneficiaries under the CARES Act, which was adopted in March 2020.
Testing for Covid-19 may or may not be free
When government money for COVID-19 testing runs out with the end of the emergency declaration, some people will have to start paying for it.
State Medicaid programs must cover testing at no cost to enrollees under the proclamation. A similar requirement applies to private health insurance, which requires beneficiaries to be covered for up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests every month.
Americans may soon have to pay for COVID-19 testing and medical care out of pocket. According to, some testing companies charge $100 per test.
The Biden administration is lobbying Congress to increase funding for COVID-19. Last month, though, it came to a halt because of Republican opposition to any federal spending that isn’t transferred from existing programs.