COVID-19 Update: Navigating Health Insurance Changes as Biden Ends COVID-19 National Emergency


In a move signaling a new chapter in the fight against COVID-19, President Joe Biden has signed a bill officially ending the COVID-19 national emergency, which will take effect on May 11, 2023 (NBC News). This decision comes after the federal government announced the end of both the public health emergency (PHE) and the national emergency related to COVID-19 (CNN).

According to NPR, the termination of the national emergency will result in the following changes:

  • Members will pay $0 for COVID-19 vaccines at in-network locations.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 test kits will no longer be covered, and members will pay the retail cost.
  • Members will pay copays, coinsurance, or deductibles for COVID-19 lab tests and associated visits at in-network locations.
  • No change in coverage for COVID-19 antiviral medications, such as Paxlovid, and monoclonal antibody treatments while government supply is available.
  • Deadlines for COBRA elections, premium payments, HIPAA special enrollments, and benefit claims and appeals will return to normal timeframes starting July 10, 2023.

The Associated Press highlights that state-specific COVID-19 coverage requirements may have different expiration dates. For example, California Fully Insured commercial plans will continue to cover COVID-19 testing, vaccines, therapeutics, and OTC test kits without prior authorization and with no member cost sharing for in-network providers until November 11, 2023. After that date, out-of-network services will be subject to cost-sharing.

As healthcare brokers, it is vital to stay informed about these changes in order to better serve your clients and their employees. With the end of the COVID-19 national emergency, insurance providers and brokers must adapt to the new landscape and guide clients through the transition.