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The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends

Oklahoma coronavirus, file (JJ Gouin / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Oklahoma coronavirus, file (JJ Gouin / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
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After three years, the COVID public health emergency in the United States is coming to an end today.

The ending of those benefits will affect Americans all over the country.

About 275,000 people in Oklahoma are affected by this Public Health Emergency.

What can you do if you are dropped from Sooner Care?

"What that looks like for us in Oklahoma is a nine-month process. To where we will roughly unenroll 30,000 members per month through the end of December”, said State Medicaid Director Traylor Rains.

Those are the plans for Sooner Care, better known as Medicaid, as PHE comes to a close today. They will not drop every member at one time from coverage before you are unenrolled.

"They will have received four or five different notifications from the healthcare authority. Alerting them as to their unenrollment date," said Rains.

The state has also taken a close look into the history of Medicaid members enrolled with Sooner Care.

Those who have not used the program, which is roughly 65,000 people in Oklahoma, will be the first to lose benefits. Those who are actively using the benefits will have a bit of a grace period.

“Maybe we have members who are in the middle of an episode in care or a cancer diagnosis that they are in treatment for. We are definitely putting those individuals towards the end of the line for unenrollment. So that they wouldn’t see their coverage end until October or November; depending on their needs," said Rains.

The last unenrollment day will be December 31st of 2023.

“We have an obligation as a healthcare authority. When someone loses eligibility, we send their information to the federally facilitated marketplace. That’s where you can find an affordable care act healthcare plan for really reduced cost and sometimes even free based on your income level", said Rains.

Those free government-issued COVID tests are also ending.

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Anyone without insurance will have to pay out of pocket for both the tests and COVID vaccines which is around 140 dollars.


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