Biden Administration Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

On July 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration has been extended for an additional 90 days. First enacted in January 2020, the latest renewal of this emergency declaration comes as the nation’s daily coronavirus case rates are rapidly increasing.

Currently, nearly 9 in 10 Californians live in counties with a high COVID-19 community level, underscoring increased concerns about infectious subvariants that have fueled a summer coronavirus wave. Forecasts from the CDC also predict an increase in hospitalizations in the weeks ahead.

The Public Health Emergency declaration allows many individuals to obtain free COVID-19 testing, therapeutic treatment and vaccines. Without this measure in place, many could face out-of-pocket costs depending on whether they are covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

The extension also enables Medicare to continue relaxing the rules governing telehealth so more patients can access and receive a wider array of such services. In addition, states may not drop anyone off Medicaid for the duration of the Public Health Emergency.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it will provide states with 60 days’ notice when a decision is made to either terminate the declaration or allow it to expire. The current extension expires on October 13, 2022.

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