Federal funds for COVID-19 vaccines and tests run out Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m., leaving anyone without health insurance in a scramble to find alternate resources.
There are alternate resources — places you can go to get that free COVID test, vaccine, or booster — but it may cost some extra time and red tape.
The funding issues are related to the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund, which has run out of money as the program winds down.
A couple of weeks ago, money to cover claims for testing and treatment dried up. Now, the money earmarked to reimburse healthcare providers for giving those COVID vaccinations and boosters is no more.
Getting an expensive medical bill can be overwhelming, but negotiating with your doctor doesn’t have to be. Here are a few easy ways to see if you can get your medical bills lowered, even if you don’t have insurance.
Any claims submitted after 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night will not be paid. That means healthcare providers behind in filing claims will not be reimbursed.
The impact to the uninsured ranges from leaving them to find a free clinic, to paying out of pocket.
Information posted on the Health Resources and Services Administration website notes that the Uninsured Program will stop accepting claims “due to lack of sufficient funds.”
The message was posted before lawmakers reached a $10 billion agreement Monday to cover addition COVID preparedness that the Biden administration has been advocating.
Local healthcare advocates, including the president and CEO of St. Johns Community Health Jim Mangia, have blasted the lack of funding.
“We’ve put so much funding and effort into battling COVID-19 so far,” Mangia said. “The idea of giving up in the eleventh hour — after over two years of loss and grief — is ridiculous, irresponsible, and inhumane.”