Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Ending
On May 11, 2023, the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) will be coming to an end. This emergency declaration provided flexibility to deliver easier access to care and expanded coverage benefits. With the end of the PHE, there may be some changes to these expanded benefits that are important to be aware of.
Vaccines: Medicare beneficiaries will continue to have access to Covid-19 vaccinations without cost sharing. With Medicare Advantage Plans, in most cases, vaccines and boosters will be considered preventive care and will still be covered at no cost if received from an in-network provider.
Testing: Medicare beneficiaries will still receive PCR and antigen tests with no cost sharing when the test is ordered by a physician or certain other health care providers and performed in a laboratory. Medicare Advantage Plans may have a cost share such as a copay or coinsurance associated with Covid-19 tests after the PHE ends. Access to free, over-the-counter Covid-19 tests will end with the end of the PHE for Medicare. In many cases, over-the-counter Covid-19 tests will no longer be covered by Medicare Advantage Plans as well, however some plans may choose to continue this coverage as an extra benefit.
Treatments: There will not be any change in Medicare coverage for treatments or cost sharing. Some Medicare Advantage Plans will continue to cover FDA-approved treatments when prescribed, however, cost shares may apply. This can vary by plan, so it is important to check with your plan to understand the details of your coverage.
Telehealth Coverage: During the PHE, there was some added flexibility for telehealth services for Medicare, and that has been extended through December 31, 2024. Medicare Advantage plans may have additional telehealth benefits, but they are not required to continue with the same flexibility traditional Medicare is following with that extension. Individuals on a Medicare Advantage Plan should check with their plan to learn more about their telehealth coverage.
These changes may not seem that drastic, but you never want to be in a situation where you seek care and are hit with costs you were not expecting. If you are concerned with how these changes may affect you, we recommend you check with your plan and make sure you understand how your plan will handle these changes. VibrantUSA agents are also available to help with any Medicare-related questions at 866-733-5111.