On this visitor column from Chaffee County Public Well being Director Andrea Carlstrom, she addresses the tip of the COVID-19 emergency, the discount of SNAP advantages, and up to date Medicaid protection.
It’s laborious to consider that Chaffee County will likely be hitting its three-year anniversary of its first COVID-19 case in March. And what a posh, unsure, and surreal three years they’ve been.
First, I wish to personally thank Chaffee County for its unwavering management, constant generosity, and neighborhood assist all through the whole pandemic. Our county has confirmed that it’s a particular place to stay and serve. And, whereas we now have made nice strides as a society in studying to stay with a brand new virus in our lives and are doing our greatest to maneuver onto a extra normalized chapter of our historical past no matter political or cultural ideation, one other milestone is about to be reached. The top of the federal COVID-19 public well being emergency declaration will go into impact on Could 11, 2023. This doesn’t imply that dwelling with COVID-19 is over, nevertheless it does imply that our nation is not in disaster mode. Whereas many individuals have been working underneath the notion that the pandemic has been “over” for fairly a while, the tip of the declaration has vital implications for all kinds of individuals in our neighborhood. We at Chaffee County Public Well being (CCPH) need members of the general public to be as ready as doable for adjustments on the horizon within the upcoming months.
COVID-19 Testing, Therapy, and Vaccines
When the emergency declaration ends, protection for COVID-19 will turn out to be extra like protection for different medical situations. Within the coming weeks, extra data will turn out to be accessible about particular adjustments, a few of which could differ by medical health insurance. Whereas CCPH will do what it might probably to proceed to supply free speedy antigen exams whereas provides final and they’re nonetheless a really helpful illness mitigation and surveillance device, it’s anticipated that the supply and use of those exams will finally turn out to be restricted. Equally, whereas CCPH can supply free vaccines to folks with out insurance coverage and people who are on the Well being First Colorado Medicaid program, the industrial market is predicted to take over for many who have non-public insurance coverage. It’s unknown how a lot a COVID-19 vaccine will precisely value with this transition. The time is now to benefit from free COVID-19 vaccines and boosters if you’re . CCPH has availability at no cost appointments, and we now have secured the vaccine bus for not less than one other one to 2 months.
Anybody within the Supplemental Vitamin Help Program (SNAP) will see a discount of their month-to-month profit quantity after February. The non permanent extra profit quantities (emergency allotments) are ending as a result of results of current federal congressional motion. The final emergency allotment advantages will likely be delivered in February. Those that are eligible will nonetheless obtain SNAP in March, however advantages will return to common ranges.
Throughout the emergency declaration, state companies have been required to supply well being care protection for all medical help applications, even when a member’s eligibility modified. This is called the continual protection requirement. Colorado will take 12 months (14 months together with noticing) to resume members based mostly on their annual renewal date. Every member’s renewal month will align with their already established annual renewal month. Some members will likely be robotically renewed based mostly on the newest data already on file with the state. Different members might want to undergo the renewal course of and take motion. The state will ship renewal packets to these members prematurely of their renewal dates with key data and their particular person timelines. Renewal could also be known as redetermination. There will likely be some neighborhood members that not qualify for Medicaid as a result of finish of the declaration. Whereas there will likely be an enchantment course of, CCPH does have a Join for Well being Colorado insurance coverage market program that may assist decrease non-public insurance coverage premiums so long as it’s inside 60 days of dropping Medicaid protection and anytime throughout the open enrollment interval.
In the meantime, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) continues to advise that everybody get vaccinated, get the newest booster, use at-home exams in case you’ve been uncovered or have signs, keep dwelling in case you’re sick, and put on a high-quality masks when COVID-19 ranges are excessive, particularly in case you think about your self excessive threat. These precautions are the very best methods we will proceed to guard ourselves and handle the pandemic because it continues to evolve.