State preparing for healthcare changes as public health emergency ends soon

Health emergency expiration impact on Medicaid
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:30 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WFSB) - There are big changes coming to everyone’s healthcare in just a few months.

The United States has been under a public health emergency since late January 2020.

The emergency is now set to end on May 11, 2023.

Commissioner of the Department of Social Services Barton Reeves says the state has been preparing for this.

“It was inevitable that it would end. The question was when,” said Reeves. “What we don’t want is have people start to panic.”

Reeves says impacted families on Medicaid, known as “Husky” in Connecticut, should have already received a letter in the mail. The state has also set up a webpage that explains who will be impacted and how.

Reeves says 80,000 families will once again have to prove they are eligible for benefits, something that was paused during the pandemic.

After 3 years without that step, the work is now to get the message out. That’s where people like Angela Harris come in.

“My biggest concern is that people will get caught off guard and surprised,” said Harris.

Harris is the health ministry chair at Phillips Metropolitan Church. She is part of the ‘trusted messenger’ program. It’s a program funded by the Connecticut Health Foundation. Trusted messengers, like Harris, are tasked with bringing resources and information directly to impacted communities.

“What we’re trying to avoid is people going to the doctor and realizing that they no longer have coverage,” said Tiffany Donelson, the Connecticut Health Foundation president and CEO.

The work is all to make sure ending the emergency doesn’t lead to a crisis of its own.

“Stress is at its highest levels, and this particular unwinding event shouldn’t add to that burden.”

It’s not just people on Medicaid that will be impacted. People with private insurance may notice changes come May as well. For example, insurance companies will no longer be required to cover over the counter COVID-19 tests. Families should check with their specific insurance provider to get more information about any changes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also published its own fact sheet.