Treatment And Care: Learning To Live With Hiv
The methods for treating and caring for individuals with HIV went through a revolution in the 21st century. Here are some things newly diagnosed individuals should know:
Who provides HIV care?
HIV care can be provided by an infectious disease specialist, but internal medicine specialists, general practice doctors and nurse practitioners can all potentially be the primary physician someone with HIV goes to. Preventing HIV from developing into AIDS, though, is not a matter of just sticking to a drug regimen â and healthcare providers approach it holistically. For instance, people living with HIV may need to see a nutritionist regularly to make sure their diet is appropriate. Similarly, appointments with a mental health counselor or substance abuse counselor may also be essential in maintaining â or transitioning to â wellness.
When should I start looking for an HIV provider?
Find an HIV provider as soon as you are diagnosed so you can get on ARVs quickly and begin slowing the virus. Local nonprofits can help you find providers in your area, as can clinics that provide testing services. Family doctors can also recommend and refer you to quality providers.
How can I prepare for my first appointment? How can I get the most out of my care?
Interaction With Medicare And Medi
If you are on Medicare Part D and ADAP, ADAP is still the payer of last resort. To stay eligible for ADAP, you must enroll in Medicare Part D if you are eligible. You should make sure you go to a pharmacy that participates in your Part D plan as well as ADAP. In general, Part D plans will pay for most of your HIV/AIDS drugs. This is because antiretrovirals are one of the categories of drugs that Part D plans must cover fully. You have to apply for Part Ds Low Income Subsidy before ADAP will pay. ADAP pays for copayments, deductibles, co-insurance, and may cover other prescription drug costs. If you have both Part D and ADAP, you can also apply to have your Part D premium paid for.
If you are on Medically Needy Medi-Cal with a Share of Cost , that means that you have to spend a certain amount of money each month before Medi-Cal starts to pay. The money spent on drugs that are paid for through ADAP can count towards your SOC. If youre on Medi-Cal and Medicare Part D, it will be difficult to spend down your SOC because the only drugs that arent covered by either Part D or Medi-Cal are Xanax and Atavan.
How Can You Take Your Antiretroviral Therapy Drugs As Prescribed
In the past, a person had to take many pills several times a day, which was hard for some people. But over the past few years this routine has become much simpler. Now people take their medicine only once or twice a day. With the right knowledge and tools, you can successfully take your medicine as prescribed.
Work with your doctor when starting ART.
- Know the names of all of your drugs.
- Get a clear explanation of the actions and purpose of each of your drugs. If you understand what you are taking and how it is helping you, it may be easier to stay on your schedule.
- Write down both the brand name and generic name for your drugs. Have your doctor check the list.
Keep the following in mind:
You may be able to reduce the costs of your antiretroviral drugs and other drugs.
Also Check: How Can Hiv Be Controlled
Even When Hiv Prevention Drug Is Covered Other Costs Block Treatment
Three years ago, Corey Walsh, who was in a relationship with a man who was HIV-positive, got a prescription for Truvada, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent infection with the virus that causes AIDS.
Walsh, then 23, was covered by his parents health insurance policy, which picked up the cost of the drug. But the price tag for the quarterly lab tests and doctor visits he needed as part of the prevention regimen cost him roughly $400, more than he could afford.
I went back to my physician and said, I cant take this anymore because all these ancillary services arent covered, Walsh recalled. He ended up joining a clinical trial that covered all his costs.
Walshs experience with high out-of-pocket costs, whether for medication or related services, is common, advocates say. Last month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that clinicians offer prescription pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, to people at high risk of contracting HIV. The decision by the independent group of experts means that starting in 2021 most health plans are required to cover drugs that are recommended to prevent HIV, and patients cant be charged anything out-of-pocket for the medication.
But the recommendation doesnt apply to the other clinical and lab services people need if theyre on PrEP, according to task force officials.
In addition to the ancillary charges, other roadblocks persist for people who need PrEP from getting it.
Appeal To Your Insurer
If the above steps fail to make the price of your preferred medication affordable, its worth trying to get your insurer to cover your drug. Heres how.
Request an exception.;The first step is to ask your insurer to help cover the cost of a drug thats not on the formulary. Its best that your doctor, not you, make the request, to establish the medical need and ensure that key health informationsuch as your diagnosis, other treatments tried, and why they were stoppedis included.
In some cases, your doctor may have already been notified by your insurer that a drug was dropped, and provided information about how to file an exception request, says Trey Hollern, a spokesperson for CVS Health, the largest PBM in the U.S. If your doctor doesnt have the information, he or she should contact the insurer for details.
Hollern recommends that your doctor request an expedited review if you need an answer within 72 hours.
If your drug coverage is through Medicare Part D, answers to exception requests typically come within 72 hours, according to Medicare Rights, an organization that helps seniors find and use Medicare plans. If you need it faster, ask for an expedited review. And with these plans, your doctor might not need to submit any paperwork and might be able to at least start by simply making the case over the phone.
Consider hiring a patient advocate.;If you need help navigating the appeals process and can afford it, you could consider hiring a professional for help.
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Hiv From Spit
Factors That May Impact Local Applicability
Identified research mainly focused on out-of-pocket expenditure for antiretroviral therapy in a form of co-payment in a publicly funded health care system. No studies were identified that examined impact of aging on increased financial vulnerability of people living with HIV. Significant differences are observed across different jurisdictions, and even within some jurisdictions, in terms of cost-sharing policies for antiretrovirals. This makes findings unique to each Canadian province, with limited generalizability.
Paying For Pep For Another Reason
- If you cannot get insurance coverage, your health care provider can apply for free PEP medicines through the medication assistance programs run by the manufacturers.
- These requests for assistance can be handled urgently in many cases to avoid a delay in getting medicine.
Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
- Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
- CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance on other federal or private website.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Hiv Through Kissing
Contact Canopy Health: Refreshingly Clear Human Care
At Canopy Health, we are sympathetic to individuals living with chronic preexisting conditions, especially those living with HIV or AIDS. Everyone has the right to gainful employment and quality medical treatment, and we would love the opportunity to speak with you about how we can provide your staff with refreshingly clear, human care.
If you or your small business is looking to partner with an extensive healthcare network that teams with reputable and diverse health plans, please contact Canopy Health today by calling . With nearly 5,000 physicians, numerous renowned hospitals, and dozens of care centers within our network, which spans eight counties throughout the Bay Area, you and your employees can receive excellent care at affordable rates regardless of where you live, work, or play.
With this recent addition, the network now encompasses 23 distinguished Bay Area hospitals.
The San Francisco Marathon is an iconic annual Bay Area event that provides a perfect way to get your employees enthused about improving their fitness.
- May 14, 2019
U.S. healthcare providers waste billions of dollars a year on inefficient or unnecessary care. Canopy Health is here to change that with a dedication to transparency and efficient care.
- May 06, 2019
While the fee-for-service model has been the prevailing approach in healthcare, a system of value-based care that benefits workers and employers alike could soon replace this outdated model.
Medicaid Beneficiaries With Hiv
In 2013, there were approximately 282,100 Medicaid beneficiaries with HIV, compared to 212,900 in 2007 .12 This number higher today due in part to the ACAâs Medicaid expansion, which has been a key factor in recent coverage gains among people with HIV.13 While Medicaid is a significant source of coverage for beneficiaries with HIV, this group represents less than 1% of the overall Medicaid population. The demographics of Medicaid enrollees with HIV vary significantly from the demographics of the Medicaid population overall:
- Medicaid beneficiaries with HIV are more likely to be male , Black , and between the ages of 45-64 than the Medicaid population overall.14
- A significant share are dually eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare, compared to just 15% of the Medicaid population as a whole; dual eligibles are among the most chronically ill and costly Medicaid enrollees, with many having multiple chronic conditions and requiring long-term care.
- Beneficiaries with HIV also have a higher prevalence of certain co-morbidities:
- Fourteen percent have a hepatitis diagnosis compared to just 1% of the general Medicaid population.
- Half have a mental health or substance use disorder diagnosis compared to 19% of the general Medicaid population .
Figure 2: Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorders & Mental Health Conditions Among Medicaid Beneficiaries, by HIV Status, 2013
Learn More About The Affordable Care Act
Here are several resources to help you stay informed about the Affordable Care Act and its impact on people with HIV:
- HealthCare.gov is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website to help you understand your health coverage options and compare health plans so you can enroll in a plan that works for you and your family.
- The Ryan White TARGETHIV Center’s Health Coverage Library is a collection of resources to help Ryan White agencies and consumers better understand health care coverage.
- The Ryan White Access, Care, & Engagement TA Center helps Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantees and subgrantees enroll diverse clients, especially people of color, in health insurance and build provider cultural competence.
Does Medicare Cover Any Prescription Drugs
Medicare Part A and Part B dont typically cover any prescription drugs you might buy at a retail pharmacy.
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug planMedicare Part D plans are sold by private insurance companies. Part D plans help Medicare beneficiaries cover some of their prescription drug costs.You can compare Part D plans available where you live and enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan online in as little as 10 minutes when you visit MyRxPlans.com.1
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverageMedicare Advantage plans cover everything that Medicare Part A and Part B cover, and most plans include coverage for prescription drugs.In fact, 90 percent of all Medicare Advantage plans offered in 2020 include prescription drug coverage.2Additionally, many Medicare Advantage plans help cover other services that may be important to people with HIV, such as vision, hearing, dental, and wellness benefits, which are not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B. Another benefit of Medicare Advantage plans is that they have an annual out-of-pocket maximum. An out-of-pocket maximum limits how much you can pay in a single year for your health care. There is no out-of-pocket maximum with Original Medicare.
Don’t Miss: Where Does Hiv Originated From
The Issue And Why Its Important
In 2017, HIV/AIDS spending in Canada amounted to 686.8 million USD . This translates into USD 6,127.3 spending per prevalent HIV/AIDS case . Government spending as a share of total HIV/AIDS spending comprised 93.9% , whereas the shares of prepaid private spending and out-of-pocket spending were 1.2% and 4.9% , respectively . The proportion of HIV/AIDS spending on curative care and treatment was 63.6% and the proportion of spending on prevention was 15% .
The cost of HIV care for older patients has been consistently higher than for younger patients over the recent years and accounted for an increasing and disproportionately larger percentage of total HIV care costs . With the aging of people living with HIV, despite a stable HIV status and CD4 count equivalent to those of younger patients, older patients will continue to account for a disproportionately greater burden of care and costs in the future .
The aim of this review is to highlight out-of-pocket costs associated with HIV in jurisdictions with publicly funded health care systems.
The Role Profit Plays
As with many matters having to do with how healthcare is paid for in this country, the reasons drugs are dropped by insurance are complicated.
To start, the formularythe list of drugs an insurer coversis called pharmacy benefit managers that your insurer contracts with. PBMs generally set formularies in the fall, in time for health insurance open enrollment.
Thats why its important when you renew coverage to see whether your plan will still cover a drug you need. But insurers and PBMs can drop drugs at any point during the year. And while in some cases consumers are given 30 to 60 days warning, people often report not getting a heads-up, like Flowers.
Consumers are caught in the middle of a profit play. PBMs exclude or threaten to exclude drugs to negotiate better deals from competing drug companies with similar medications. Thats because to get on a PBMs formulary, drugmakers offer rebates, says Stacie Dusetzina, Ph.D., an associate professor of health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., who studies drug pricing. If a PBM gets a bigger rebate from one company, it may include that companys drug in its formulary, Dusetzina says.
Read Also: How Long Does Hiv Live On Surfaces
Is Hiv Testing Covered By Health Insurance
Most insurers now widely cover HIV testing, many without cost-sharing, in part because of the declaration by the United States Preventive Services Task Force , a self-governing board that evaluates the net benefit of preventative services and assigns a consequent letter grade . Under the ACA, any A orb rated preventative services must be offered by most insurers without cost-sharing; additionally, traditional Medicaid programs, although not required to provide USPSTF services, they are incentivized to do that.
In 2013, the USPSTF gave HIV testing an A rating for many teens and adults, ages 15 to 65. It also provided an A grade to HIV screening for pregnant women. Both these recommendations were reaffirmed in 2019.
The current insurance policy landscape of HIV testing is as follows:
Prep The Hiv Prevention Pill Must Now Be Totally Free Under Almost All Insurance Plans
In a move that is expected to prove transformative to the national HIV-prevention effort, the federal government has announced that almost all health insurers must cover the HIV prevention pill, known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, with no cost sharing including for the drug itself and, crucially, for clinic visits and lab tests.
This means the entire experience of maintaining a prescription to Truvada or Descovy, the two approved forms of PrEP, should now be totally free for almost all insured individuals. A prescribing physician, however, must persuade an insurer that Descovy in particular is medically necessary for any specific patient to qualify for zero cost sharing for that drugs use as HIV prevention.;
The guidance that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with the Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury, sent to health insurers Monday indicated that insurers have 60 days to comply with the mandate. The rule says insurers must not charge copays, coinsurance or deductible payments for the quarterly clinic visits and lab tests required to maintain a PrEP prescription.;
Insurers were already required to stop charging out-of-pocket fees for the medication by Jan. 1, 2021, at the latest.;
Don’t Miss: Is Hiv Curable Or Treatable