The Ending of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Will Trigger Many Changes Impacting Healthcare

December 2, 2022

But “when” is the question

Will the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extend the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) past the current scheduled end date of Jan. 11, 2023?

Speculation is high that another PHE extension is very likely. HHS has not yet announced a termination date and had promised to provide a 60-day advance notice. That notification should have been delivered on Nov. 11, 2022 – a date that has come and gone.

The ending of the PHE will trigger many changes as the United States has been operating under “pandemic-era policies,” including those related to telehealth, the fast-tracking of approvals for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and healthcare coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Here are a few specifics as to how your patients will be affected:

  • Approximately 15 million Medicaid beneficiaries across the country are set to lose health insurance coverage because the end of the PHE will trigger a redetermination process.
  • Telehealth flexibilities for Medicare beneficiaries will end 151 days after the PHE expires. However, telehealth flexibility will remain for plans regulated by Illinois due to ISMS-backed legislation.
  • The federal government will stop paying for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

The COVID-19 PHE first took effect in January 2020 and HHS has renewed the declaration every 90 days since then.

As to another possible renewal? Only HHS knows for sure. 

If you have questions, please contact the ISMS Health Policy Research and Advocacy team by email.

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