Public Health Emergency Ends

By Laura Walling, Vice President of Government Affairs, Goodwill Industries International

As the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) officially comes to an end, nonprofits may receive questions from program participants regarding the continuation of a number of benefits put in place during the pandemic.  Throughout the pandemic, states and the federal government declared various types of emergencies, enacted multiple laws and issued numerous regulations.  Some of these measures were tied directly to the (PHE) and therefore ended jointly.

Vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travelers have now ended. Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security announced that they will begin to end their vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, CMS-certified healthcare facilities, and certain noncitizens at the land border.  In addition, the federal supply of COVID-19 vaccines could be depleted or need to be replaced by an updated booster dose sometime this year and the federal supply of COVID-19 treatments could also be depleted.

Other supports that ended on May 11, 2023 include:

  • certain Medicaid coverage and waivers
  • requirement that private insurers and Medicare providers provide free tests
  • requirement of no cost sharing for PCR/provider-ordered tests and testing visits for those with private insurance and Medicare Advantage
  • requirement of no cost sharing for testing-related visits for those with traditional Medicare
  • requirement that private plans/issuers cover out-of-network COVID-19 vaccines without cost sharing
  • requirement that Medicare Part D plans issue a 90-day supply upon enrollee request and relax “refill-too-soon” edits
  • 20% Medicare payment increase for COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits for children under 6
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program for young adults in shelters
  • Title 42 border restrictions
  • FEMA Public Assistance Support

The Administration has issued a statement pertaining to policies and programs in place that will remain after the end of the PHE including:

  • The HHS Bridge Access Program for COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments will provide broad access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for uninsured Americans through 2024.
  • COVID-19 tests remain accessible and available for all Americans at until the end of May 2023, and USG will continue to provide access for the uninsured through the Increasing Community Access To Testing Program (ICATT).  Until the end of May 2023, individuals can continue to order tests for free from
  • Certain flexibilities and protections, including for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines, tests and treatments have been extended through 2024.
  • Most current Medicare telehealth flexibilities will remain in place through December 2024.

While these provisions are coming to an end, the collaborative work and relationships that the nonprofit sector conducted including the coordination of the #Relief4Charities Coalition will continue.  Together we achieved much needed support that helped nonprofits meet their mission during the pandemic via expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program, receipt of Emergency Income Disaster Loans, Employee Retention Tax Credits, and a temporary universal charitable deduction for all taxpayers.  The coalition is still active sharing how state and local COVID funds have been utilized, discussing ways to improve the federal grants system, and advocating for The Charitable Act which will make a universal charitable deduction permanent.  The ability of nonprofits of all sizes and missions from arts and humanities to health care, human service, and workforce providers like Goodwill to come together and find common ground over the last three years was a silver lining during some very dark times.  We will continue to work or brighter days ahead.