What to know about getting COVID-19-related care covered if you're uninsured in N.H.
Federal funding for a program that reimburses health providers for COVID testing, treatment and vaccines for people without insurance has run out. Meanwhile, the bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress to provide more COVID funding does not include more funding for that program.
Here’s what you need to know if you don’t have insurance and are seeking COVID-19 related care in New Hampshire.
Can I still find a free COVID test, vaccine or booster?
CVS and Rite Aid are still providing free testing and vaccines to people without insurance, but may not do so indefinitely if Congress does not find a solution to the funding gap.
In a statement to NHPR, a Rite Aid spokesperson said the company will continue to provide free tests through the end of May.
Federally qualified health centers across the state also continue to provide free COVID vaccines and testing. Some providers, like the Manchester Public Health Department, which get their vaccines through the New Hampshire Immunization Program, also continue to provide free vaccines.
Granite Staters can also order free at-home tests through an online federal program.
There are some locations in the state whose policy remains unclear, including Convenient MD and Dartmouth Health affiliates. Both companies said they could not provide NHPR with a response.
If you're not sure about the cost, call ahead or ask before you get the test or vaccine.
What happens if I test positive, and need COVID treatment or end up in the hospital? Would I pay for that all out of pocket?
You can get these services covered through New Hampshire’s COVID-19 Medicaid Benefit.
The benefit covers monoclonal antibody infusions as well as the newer antiviral pill Paxlovid.
If you are hospitalized with the virus, the COVID-19 Medicaid benefit can also cover the cost of that care too.
Ed Laverty, chief medical officer at Upper Valley Connecticut Hospital, told NHPR staff at his hospital are available to help patients with the application process. The state has also worked with other hospital systems to inform them about the availability of the benefit.
The benefit will also cover the cost of care retroactively, up to 90 days before an application is submitted.
What exactly is this COVID-19 Medicaid Benefit?
It’s like temporary insurance for people who do not have insurance or do not have comprehensive insurance that covers COVID-related care.
Once you apply for the benefit, and are approved, you will have COVID-related care covered until the end of the federal public health emergency. More detailed information from the state about what the benefit covers can be found here.
New Hampshire is one of 15 states that provides special insurance coverage to the uninsured through this type of Medicaid benefit.
Am I eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Medicaid Benefit?
The program is for people who are uninsured, although some people with short-term health insurance plans with limited coverage for COVID-related care may also be eligible.
There is no resource test or income limit. Those applying must be a New Hampshire resident, a U.S. citizen or have qualifying immigration status and provide a Social Security number.
How many Granite Staters are covered by the program?
Almost 10,000 Granite Staters are currently covered by the program, which began in June of 2020.
The total expenditure of the program so far is $896,834, and it is federally funded. It’s a small amount compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding that have poured into the state for other pandemic purposes.