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State leaders react to plan to increase COVID-19 testing access

WNEM Saginaw logo WNEM Saginaw 12/3/2021
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State of Michigan officials have announced their support of the federal plan to fund at-home testing for COVID-19 this winter, in an effort to help the battle against the Delta and Omicron variants.

According to the state, the components of the federal plan to fight COVID-19 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,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “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.”

State Budget Director Chris Hawkins echoed these sentiments, saying, “The federal government has played a critical role in helping Michigan and all the states both respond to and recover from the pandemic. 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.

“Getting more people vaccinated and boosted, improving health outcomes, and keeping Michigan businesses and schools safely open are our highest priorities,” Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox said. “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.”

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