COVID tests, treatments could soon cost Americans
The federal government is poised to stop paying for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments in the coming months, shifting the costs from taxpayers onto individual patients.
The days of free, easily accessible COVID-19 tests will also likely end. Private insurance may not cover over-the-counter tests anymore, and patients may need a prescription first for a PCR test.
Vaccines will still be free to people with private insurance, though the cost will likely be reflected in premiums. Even with insurance, patients will likely see costs if they go to an out-of-network provider.
But the biggest impact will be on uninsured or underinsured Americans, many of whom have jobs that put them at greater risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Reflective of broader system: “The way that it works in the U.S. [right now] is actually more similar to how a lot of health care works in other countries too,” said Cynthia Cox, an insurance expert and vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“But when the public health emergency ends, it’s going to start looking like health care in the U.S does, which is that it’s complicated and it costs a lot of money.”
PFIZER: NEW BOOSTER PROTECTS BETTER THAN ORIGINAL IN SENIORS
The companies said the data showed clinical trial participants over age 55 who received the bivalent booster targeting omicron BA.4/BA.5 had antibody levels nearly four times as high as those who received the original booster.
The results are based on blood samples taken from adults one month after they received single doses of either the updated booster shot or the first version of the vaccine.
Flashback: The shot was authorized without human data.
The number of participants in the study was small. Only 36 people received the new booster, and 40 received the old one.
Federal health officials are banking on the updated vaccine as a crucial part of the administration’s COVID-19 response. As the weather turns colder, officials are trying to convince people to get the updated vaccine to stave off a new wave of serious infections and death.
But two months after the administration first authorized the shots, uptake has been poor. According to federal data, fewer than 9 percent of Americans have received one. Officials blame pandemic fatigue and a lack of resources to fully promote the shots.
WORLD COVID STATS
Highlighted in green
= all cases have recovered from the infection