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How can I cover my drug costs?
Feb 2, 2004

Hi, and thanks for answering this. I am currently healthy and see no time in the near future having to go on disability due to my HIV. However ,I am concerned if at sometime, say 10 years down the road I need to go on disability, how does a person on Social Security pay for their drugs if their economic situation doesn't make them eligible for ADAP or some other aid. Do they pay for drugs out of pocket or is it possible to purchase supplemental insurance to cover costs not covered by Medicare? Is there anything I should be doing now in the event that in the future I might have to go on state disability? I live in NY.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Wow--you DO think ahead! Very smart.

Congratulations on your success with managing your HIV. Here's the best advice we can give you on this site: if you are working, check whether your employer offers long-term disability insurance. If so, sign up for it at your earliest opportunity (you may have to wait for the next open enrollment period). If not, and you're open to changing jobs, the best favor you could do yourself would be to find a job with an employer that does offer LTD. If you do, sign up to pay the premiums yourself. Why? Because if you let the employer pay the premiums, the eventual benefits, should you need them, would be taxable. If you pay, not taxable.

Okay, that's the best case scenario. I couldn't tell from the wording of your question whether you are drawing Social Security benefts now. If you are, then you are in a fluid situation. Social Security benefits, like many other benefits, are among the "entitlements" that the current administration considers ripe for change, as in "shrinkage." Keep close tabs on what is happening to Social Security, especially to the criteria for SSA disability. If you become eligible for SSA disability, your medications should be covered, but I cannot predict what tampering the feds will do between now and a hypothetical then. How to stay current? Bookmark Jacques Chambers' website, www.helpwithbenefits.com. If you find that you need to apply for SSA disability, contact Jacques FIRST. Most people spend frustrating months applying and re-applying. Jacques knows the ropes and can advise you far better than I. As for supplemental insurance to make sure you'd have continued access to meds, I think that's a great idea. Once again, I encourage you to run it past Jacques before investing in it.

I hope this addresses, at least in part, the question you're asking. I wish you well, I wish you continued health, and thanks for writing.



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