Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has been providing Americans with free Covid-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments. However, The Biden Administration says it is shifting costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic to the public and private sectors, including health insurers and pharmacies and ending federal funding for Covid-19 related expenses. The White House Covid-19 Response Team coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said he hopes to see “most of these products commercialized in 2023.”

Governments are buying most of the Covid-19 pharmaceuticals, allowing everyone in the country to access testing, vaccinations, and treatments. Commercializing pandemic supplies is expected to begin in Autumn, with protections for Medicaid and Medicare. 

When Eli Lilly announced in August that it was about to begin selling its Covid-19 monoclonal antibody Bebtelovimab, it was a glimpse into the future. The federal government previously distributed the Covid-19 treatments to states and pharmacies, which guaranteed free usage for patients.

The updated Omicron BA.5-specific vaccine will not be affected by this change in procurement policy. To acquire these vaccine doses, the Biden Administration has signed purchase agreements. As with previous vaccines and boosters, these will be available universally this Autumn.

Uninsured people will be affected most by the change, followed by commercially insured people. 

Until December 31, Medicare and Medicaid will reimburse their beneficiaries for vaccinations. After that, Medicare will continue to cover vaccinations in full under the Inflation Reduction Act, but not necessarily all tests and treatments. In addition, by 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act will eliminate Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing on adult vaccines covered under Medicare Part D. 

Medicare Part D plans are required to cover adult vaccines recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, without a cost-sharing requirement, beginning January 1, 2023.

Covid-19 tests may lose near-universal coverage once the Public Health Emergency (PHE) expires – as early as next month. As a result, quantity limitations and perhaps even prior authorization protocols will likely be instituted as coverage conditions.

For the duration of the Covid-19 PHE and for one year after it ends, Medicaid must cover the cost of testing, vaccinations, and treatment for practically all enrollees. In addition, medicines such as the anti-viral Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) may also be restricted based on age and other factors. The 8% of U.S. citizens without insurance will be the most impacted by the halt in procuring Covid-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments. 

WeShield is a leading supplier of Covid-19 rapid tests and other medical supplies, so we are uniquely positioned to help bridge the gap created with the end of free Covid-19 tests. WeShield also strives to provide accurate, timely information to its clients. Our website has information on the COVID-19 pandemic and FDA-approved personal protective equipment and testing equipment.