University of Michigan announces new COVID policies as federal public health emergency ends

Federal COVID public health emergency expired on Thursday

Signs guide individuals to Michigan Medicine's COVID Vaccine Clinic at the Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 31, 2020. (Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan announced a series of changes to its COVID-19 response on Thursday as the federal public health emergency ended.

School officials said the decision to transition into a new phase of pandemic response was due to the expiration of the COVID emergency and stable infection rates over the last several months.

According to a U-M release, the following will apply across all three campuses to faculty, staff and students:

  • Costs for COVID-19 medical services, such as testing and treatment, will shift to normal rates and requirements, effective May 12. This means members covered by U-M health plans will pay regular coinsurance or copays for these services, including charges for using out-of-network providers.
  • Also effective May 12, over-the-counter rapid antigen COVID-19 tests will no longer be covered by U-M’s prescription drug plan. Members have through May 2024 to submit reimbursement claims to Magellan Rx for eligible, previously purchased test kits.
  • COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be covered at no cost to members.
  • COVID-19 treatment drugs Paxlovid and its generic equivalents, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir, will continue to be covered by the U-M prescription drug plan, with no member cost-share as long as the U.S. government pays for these products.
  • As of May 13, the emergency COVID-19 paid-time-off program for faculty and staff, as well as the additional 120-hour special-use PTO bank at Michigan Medicine, will be discontinued. Employees will use regular paid time off, including sick or PTO as needed.
  • The university’s Community Sampling and Tracking Program in Ann Arbor will close after May 12. Sites at Pierpont Commons and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business’ Blau Hall will distribute free OTC rapid antigen tests and face coverings until that date. The Occupational Health Services COVID-19 testing site will close after May 10.
  • Michigan Medicine recently updated its face-covering policy to require masking only during specific conditions at clinical facilities.

Read: COVID public health emergency ends: What Michigan residents need to know

“On behalf of the university community, I would like to thank the many people who contributed their essential expertise, diligence and determination to keep our community safe these last three years,” Chief Health Officer and director of University Health Service Robert D. Ernst wrote in an email to the campus community.

“While we are rolling back some measures, our public health response team continues to monitor COVID-19 and other infectious diseases and we are better prepared than ever to respond, should the need arise.”