COVID-19 public health emergency ends Thursday in US, Illinois

Some private insurers may begin charging for COVID tests

Diane Pathieu Image
Thursday, May 11, 2023
COVID-19 public health emergency ends in US, Illinois Thursday
The COVID-19 public health emergency will come to an end in the U.S. and Illinois Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The U.S. government will end the COVID-19 public health emergency Thursday.

It allowed millions of Americans to receive vaccines, tests and treatments at no cost. Illinois will also end its emergency.

The ending of the public health emergency means some changes may come in regards to testing.

Telehealth and some healthcare benefits including to Medicare and Medicaid may be impacted. They will still pay for lab-based PCR tests and Medicaid will continue to pay for at-home tests. But private insurance companies may charge co-pays for those tests.

Since the start of the year, Chicago has seen over 32,000 recorded COVID cases and more than 100 deaths.

How does end of public health emergency impact COVID testing?

Doctor Geraldine Luna, with Chicago's Department of Public Health explains what it means.

Nationwide, weekly cases and hospitalizations are down drastically from previous years, although COVID is being blamed for the deaths of 1,100 people weekly across the country.

"I think for some people this is going to seem very arbitrary and accelerated that the emergency part of this pandemic is coming to an end," Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent, said. "For other people, they're going to say 'Hey look, months ago, maybe even a year ago, I was sort of through this.'"

The World Health Organization ended it's global health emergency status for COVID last week.

According to their data, there have been more than 700 million confirmed cases worldwide since the pandemic started.

In Chicago, a group called People's Response Network plans to hold a press conference Thursday calling on Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson about the COVID emergency cancellation and rebuilding the Chicago department of health.