Despite the recent rise of Covid-19 cases across the country, the Biden administration is quietly preparing for the end of the public health emergency, Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, said during a media event earlier this week.
Talk of ending the health emergency comes even as the White House announced that Covid-19 home testing kits are once again available for free.
However, even with the rising cases that coincided with the arrival of colder weather throughout the country, “in the background — and not so far in the background — we have a group of people on our team who are thinking about the transition,” to ending the emergency, Jha said.
The U.S. Covid public health emergency was first declared in January of 2020 and has been extended every 90 days since.
It is now set to expire in January 2023, but will likely be extended again after the federal government did not notify states or health-care providers of any intent to lift the declaration.
Health and Human Services Secretary Secretary Xavier Becerra has previously promised to give hospitals and other health care providers at least 60 days notice before lifting the emergency declaration so they can prepare for a return to normal operations.
Biden administration officials explained earlier this year that the possibility of a winter surge in Covid cases was one of the reasons they decided to keep the health emergency in place for at least one more extension.
When the health emergency expires, the government will begin to transfer covid related healthcare costs, such as vaccines and treatments, to private insurance and government health plans.
HHS has estimated that as many as 15 million people could lose Medicaid or coverage from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) once the programs return to normal operations.
For Lakewood families still enrolled in an NJ FamilyCare program, when the health emergency is rescinded, all enrollees will be reviewed to see if they still qualify for coverage.
As part of the review, people will receive mail from the State of New Jersey or their County Board of Social Services.
Members will have to provide or confirm additional information so NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid can decide whether they still qualify for healthcare coverage.
Members who do not respond to NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid mail may lose their coverage.