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End of public health emergency could affect cost of COVID-19 tests nationally; Missouri should remain the same

 Dennis Sylvester Hurd / CC BY 2.0
Dennis Sylvester Hurd / CC BY 2.0

By Morgan Buresh


The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration ends Thursday.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one of the widest-ranging impacts of the declaration ending will be the higher costs of COVID-19 tests. But some resources locally will continue.

Beginning Friday, cost-sharing will begin for at-home COVID-19 tests and tests administered by a healthcare professional. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Coverage states the following changes for different coverage levels: 

  • Medicare: Medicare will not cover over-the-counter tests, but people can continue to get free COVID-19 tests with no cost-sharing when they are ordered by a healthcare professional. However, there could be cost sharing for the appointment to receive the test. 
  • Medicaid: Medicaid will allow people to get COVID-19 tests at no cost sharing through September 2024. 
  • Private Insurance: It will no longer be mandatory for private insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests. However, some health plans may still do so. 
  • Uninsured: People will not be able to get free tests with no cost sharing, unless they are able to receive tests from a local healthcare clinic or organization. 

Despite these changes, local health officials said most Missouri residents can still expect to have access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatment. 

Lisa Cox, communications director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said there is still ample supply of tests. She said the state will continue to supply providers with testing supplies, and when state resources run dry, the federal government has assured them they will step in to make resources available. 

“The federal government has assured us that they are committed to ensuring that all of these resources that have been available and accessible will continue to be available,” Cox said. “So, those who are uninsured, those who are underinsured, (the federal government) is committed to making sure that remains. There are still several testing programs in place that are not ending next week.” 

Ryan Sheehan, public information specialist with the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, said its services will stay the same. 

“We're not doing anything differently,” Sheehan said. “We are going to be offering the same vaccines, and we're going to have free COVID-19 tests.” 

The Cole County Health Department does not offer testing. 

Watch ABC 17 News at 10 p.m. Wednesday for an in-depth report on COVID-19's impact as the federal emergency ends. 

Article Topic Follows: Health

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