State Leaders React to Federal Plan to Increase Access to COVID-19 Testing to Battle COVID-19 this Winter

The plan will help schools and businesses stay open safely, lower costs for testing for families, and increase the number of Michiganders with vaccines and booster doses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 3, 2021
Contact: Press@Michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. - State of Michigan officials have announced their support of the federal government's winter plan to cover at-home testing costs, among other efforts to battle COVID-19, including the Delta and Omicron variants, a move that will help improve health outcomes, help keep children safe in school, and save money for millions of Michiganders.

Key components of the federal plan that will benefit Michiganders include:

  • Requiring private insurers to reimburse policyholders for the expenses of obtaining at-home, rapid results COVID-19 tests;
  • Expanding access to free at-home tests for uninsured individuals and underserved communities;
  • Creating more than 60 emergency response teams to ensure hospitals and states have the help they need to battle rising caseloads.
  • Requiring Medicaid to pay health care providers for counseling services to help parents understand the benefits of getting their children vaccinated;
  • Expanding access to safe and effective vaccines and boosters by leveraging pharmacy partnerships and creating hundreds of FEMA Family Mobile Vaccination Clinics to allow whole families, including children ages 5-11, to get vaccinated or boosted together;
  • Launching a new public education campaign to encourage adults, including seniors and Medicare participants, to get vaccinated or boosted;
  • Reviewing school closure guidelines to help schools stay open safely using layered prevention strategies, including "test to stay" programs;

"It's important for all families to have access to accurate information about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine," said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel. "MDHHS aims to improve access to health care coverage for low-income families that receive Medicaid benefits. We appreciate the action by the Biden administration to make sure our Medicaid beneficiaries can ask questions of their doctors and make informed decisions to keep their families and the community protected from COVID-19."

"Getting more people vaccinated and boosted, improving health outcomes, and keeping Michigan businesses and schools safely open are our highest priorities," said Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director (DIFS) Director Anita Fox. "The federal plan will make testing more accessible and more affordable for all Michiganders, whether they have private insurance or are uninsured. Anyone who has questions or concerns about health insurance coverage can contact DIFS by calling 877-999-6442, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m."

"The federal government has played a critical role in helping Michigan and all the states both respond to and recover from the pandemic," said State Budget Director Chris Harkins. "As we continue our work with the Legislature to negotiate the remaining federal funds that are already at our disposal, we will take a look at this most recent federal proposal to see how it can complement our work.  We have a unique and rare opportunity to use all of our federal support to help transform Michigan and position the state for success not just this year, but 10 to 20 years from now as well."

More information about the federal government's COVID-19 Winter Action Plan is available at WhiteHouse.gov. To find a vaccine or booster location in your area, text your ZIP Code to 438829.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn

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