This announcement doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over. In fact, the World Health Organization recently voted to extend the PHE of International Concern for another 90 days. So, while ending the Emergency doesn’t “end” the pandemic, it is a sign that we’re moving toward a new phase of the pandemic. We’re hopeful that COVID-19 is becoming more predictable and less disruptive, even if we’re not quite there yet.
Here’s a breakdown of the biggest changes that may affect you and information to help with the impact. You can jump directly to the section that you need from here.
Keeping your Medicaid benefits
For the last three years, states have suspended rules requiring that people on Medicaid reapply yearly for Medicaid. Beginning in April, Medicaid will again require individuals to renew yearly. People who signed up for Medicaid more than a year ago will need to renew coverage by proving that they still meet income requirements.
To make sure you keep your Medicaid insurance:
- Update your information in COMPASS or call 1-877-395-8930 or 1-215-560-7226 for help.
- 3 ways to renew:
- Look for your renewal forms in the mail and complete it.
- OR complete your renewal in COMPASS.
- OR call 1-866-550-4355 to renew by phone.
Help is available:
The City will be publishing more information soon about how to make sure that your coverage doesn’t end.
SNAP boost benefits will end
The “boost” benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) known as emergency allotments will return to pre-COVID amounts as of March 2023. Go to DHS’ SNAP-CARES Act page to find out how you can plan for this change.
You may still be able to get WIC benefits for your family with children under 5 even if you had SNAP, or if you never did – Apply online at www.pawic.com
- Call NORTH Inc. at (215) 978-6100 for help enrolling over the phone
- Go to your local WIC Office to enroll in-person. Call (215) 683-6012 for offices near you
- For help with additional food sources after the SNAP Emergency Assistance benefit ends, check out the following resources:
|Call 311 or visit findhelp.org
|Visit https://www.phila.gov/food/ for free meal sites
|Call the SNAP Hotline 215-430-0556 or visit hungercoalition.org/snaphelp
|Visit https://www.pa211.org/for local food resources
|Visit https://www.feedingpa.org/for local food banks
|Visit Philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900 for food for seniors and children
|Seniors 60+ years: Senior Food Box Program can provide up to a free box of food per month cutt.ly/seniorbox
|Call the Share Food Program of Philadelphia at 215-223-2220 or visit https://www.sharefoodprogram.org/find-food/. Share also provides delivery for seniors.
The federal government has a stockpile of vaccines purchased from pharmaceutical companies. The end of the PHE should have little effect on vaccine access. Supply of the federally purchased vaccines is expected to last through the summer of 2023.
Once the federal supply runs out, private insurance companies as well as Medicaid/Medicare Part B and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) are required to cover vaccines for those they insure. Those who are uninsured will still be able to find free vaccines (see below for details).
- Private or marketplace insurance
- All forms of health insurance will cover COVID-19 vaccines if you stay in network. If unsure of where you are in-network, call the insurance customer service number on the back of your insurance card.
- Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries
- Medicare will continue to cover COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, at no cost for those enrolled in Part B or Part D.
- Medicaid (Medical Assistance) and CHIP programs are required to cover COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines will be free to people enrolled. Use this tool to locate vaccination locations near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/
- Those without insurance can still get free COVID-19 vaccines at the City health center annexes during walk-in hours (M,W,Th,F 8:00 am – 1:00 pm)
|How to find it
|Health Center 3 Annex
|4219 Chester Ave.
|Enter on Chester Ave.
|Berks Street Annex
|2001 W. Berks St.
|Enter on Berks St.
|Health Center 6 Annex
|301 W. Girard Ave.
|Trailers behind bldg. on N. 3rd St.
|Health Center 10 Annex
|2230 Cottman Ave.
|Enter on the left side of the bldg.
*You must wear a mask inside City health centers. Bring your ID and your insurance card if you have one.
Getting a COVID-19 test
Four free tests are still available through the federal government through March 31 by visiting CovidTests.gov or calling 1-800-232-0233. You may want to order tests toward the end of March if your household supply is low.
- If you are sick and have private insurance or Medicare, your insurance should cover the test with a doctor’s referral.
- COVID-19 tests can be requested at the preferred provider of your health plan. Call the number on the back of your insurance card for specific details on your plan’s copays and preferred providers.
- Free at-home test kits are available through private insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid through May 11. For details on how to obtain tests through your health insurance provider, visit their website or call the telephone number on the back of your insurance card (use of specific pharmacies may be required).
- Visit a testing site near you: https://www.phila.gov/covid-testing-sites/. Some sites require you to have a doctor’s referral, or to have symptoms, or make an appointment. Some may require that you be in the provider’s insurance network. Call ahead to make sure you have all the information and hours for the site.
- Visit a Resource Hub: Five Philadelphia Resource hubs will continue to give out free at home test kits until supplies are exhausted. They are located at:
|Mi Salud Wellness Center, 200 E. Wyoming Ave.
|Bethany Baptist Church, 5747 Warrington Ave.
|The Shoppes at La Salle, 5301 Chew Ave.
|Mt. Enon Baptist Church, 500 Snyder Ave.
|Whitman Plaza, 330 W. Oregon Ave.
Finding treatment for COVID-19
Treatment can help you avoid serious illness, hospitalization, or even death from COVID-19. Contact your primary care provider to discuss whether you would benefit from a treatment like Paxlovid or Lagevrio.
- If you do not have a primary care provider, you can visit an urgent care or a Test-to-Treat location (https://covid-19-test-to-treat-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com/)
- Or find free or low-cost care here.
After May 11, people who are enrolled in Medicare or Medicare Part D may start to see new cost-sharing (co-pays) for treatment.
If you have Medicaid or CHIP, medications will continue to be available free of cost for the rest of 2023. That will likely change in 2024.
Anyone experiencing an emergency should go to the nearest ER to be evaluated.