End of COVID emergency will affect funding programs many rely on

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 5:48 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The public health emergency associated with COVID 19 is set to end on May 11. While it’s a sign of things getting better nationwide, it will be the end to funding many rely on according to the director of the Coastal Health District

“With the decrease in COVID transmission, hospitalizations and deaths, that’s the reason for the ending and they didn’t want to end it abruptly. There’s certain programs and certain funding that’s tied to that emergency status and they didn’t want to just remove it immediately and states not have the ability to adjust to that,” Dr. Bonzo Reddick said.

According to the Georgia Department of Health, there were 356 COVID cases reported in Chatham County as of Feb. 8.

While some feel like it’s too soon for this call, others think this is the perfect time.

“I don’t think they should lift it because COVID is still running rapidly. Back in December I had it and my Granddaughter brought to me. When you’re in a building, a closed in building. I think you’re at danger.”

“It’s time for it to be lifted. I think as we can see in the community that there’s a lot of people out there without having mask on and doing the proper protocol.”

As Dr. Reddick mentioned, the end of the public health emergency means the end of programs that helped many.

“Just for example, Medicaid is one program that has some partial funding from the federal government but also some from the state as well and that’s not going to be across the board the same in every state.”

Reddick says people on Medicaid will have to start applying for eligibility again, as that process was put on hold because of the emergency. States can start disenrolling residents in April.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services fact sheet, Medicare recipients will have to pay for over-the-counter COVID tests but COVID vaccines will still be covered.

Reddick says there are several programs that received funding and flexibilities that will be affected and he’s still waiting to hear how their health department will be impacted.

“Each state is going to have it’s unique approach to how they do it and even within states each county each district will have a unique approach to how they adjust,” Reddick said.

That fact sheet says the last day people on Medicaid will be eligible for COVID 19 testing, treatments and vaccines without paying out of pocket will be Sept. 30 of 2024.