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The COVID-19 public health emergency is ending. Here's what that means.



Four things to know about how we’ll deal with COVID in a post-PHE world.

On May 11, the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) is set to end. The Biden Administration has looked at the trends and has determined that while COVID-19 remains a public health priority, it is no longer an emergency. For many of us, life has gone back to nearly-normal, so this news is hardly surprising.

But formally ending the public health emergency will bring changes in healthcare and insurance. Some temporary measures will cease, while others will change. Here are four PHE provisions we’ve grown familiar with, and how they’ll change (or persist) in the post-PHE world for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey members:

1. Vaccines and Boosters

Vaccines and boosters for COVID-19 fall under preventive care, and members will not incur any out-of-pocket costs when they use an in-network provider. Out-of-pocket costs may apply if a member uses an out-of-network provider.

2. COVID-19 Tests

Starting May 12, members will need to pay for over-the-counter at-home COVID tests. But COVID tests administered by in-network providers will be covered, much like a flu or strep test.

3. COVID-19 Treatment

COVID-19 treatment will continue to be covered and may be subject to any applicable copay, coinsurance and/or deductible. If members use their out-of-network benefits (when applicable), they may pay more.

4. Telemedicine for COVID-19 Care

Beginning May 12, 2023, COVID-19-related care will be treated like any other telemedicine service. For in-network care, any applicable copay, coinsurance and/or deductible will apply beginning May 12, 2023. This includes services received through Horizon CareOnline.

In general, the post-PHE world will see COVID-19 treated more like the flu, bronchitis or other infectious and respiratory diseases with which we’re all already familiar.

There are other temporary provisions of the PHE that are more specialized. They have to do with such things as training for nurses, hospital capacity, and access to certain prescription drugs. These changes will not affect most members’ healthcare experience, but if interested, you can get an overview from Kaiser Health News.