PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) – Lots of changes are coming after the president announced plans to end national and public health emergencies tied to COVID in May.
The announcement on Monday announcement came not long after another announcement that emergency benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will expire in March.
For Naomi Williams, this is quite concerning.
“I’m dealing with cancer,” Williams said. “I had brain mass.”
Williams lives on social security and uses SNAP to make ends meet.
Those SNAP benefits will plummet, she said, from $221 dollars a month to $21 when her $200 emergency allotment expires next month.
“What do you eat, how to eat and what are you going to get to eat,” she said.
Other benefits will also disappear with the so-called unwinding of Medicaid.
“That means that everyone who is on Medicaid will receive a letter – a reauthorization letter,” said Celebrate Health Care LLC President, Gaylene Kanoyton.
Kanoyton said that depending on changes in a person’s employment or other circumstances, some will need to move onto their employers insurance, while others may be directed to buy insurance on the Affordable Care Marketplace.
It may also affect those dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, including Williams’ brother, Chester, who was run over by an SUV in December 2019 while helping a man on the side of the road. He is now permanently disabled and wrapping his head around the unwinding.
“Its going to cause confusion because some people are not informed like they should be informed,” Chester Williams said.
Kanoyton is already working on a campaign to get the word out about that and other changes.
COVID-19 tests and treatments that have been free for most Americans will now incur out of pocket costs, though vaccines will still be covered by insurance.
Hospitals will lose some money and the flexibilities granted to them to help respond to pandemic conditions, including things from telehealth to bed usage.
Said Naomi Williams: ” It’s going to be amazing to just figure out what’s gong to be next.”
Whatever it is, she hopes it’s on the side of good health for all.