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When I Retire, How Will I Afford HIV Treatment? (Editor's Pick)
Aug 26, 2015

I'm almost 63. I want to retire shortly after I'm 65. I'm getting sick with fear of the unknown. HOW AM I GOING TO PAY FOR STRIBILD WHILE ON MEDICARE AND PART D plans??? I will have about a $2300 a month income. Gilead can't help while on Medicare. This is infuriating! Please help me find out which countries I am going to have to move to in order to continue my Stribild regimen. Is there a resource even an activist attorney who I will hire who can help. I've had it with America! Now the insurers are re-classifying HIV drugs to be preventative and therefore their costs are not applied to my deductible. Puck them!!!! It's back door blatant discrimination! LET THE OLD QUEERS DIE!!! Bastards!!!

Response from Mr. Chambers

I certainly understand your anger.

First, without knowing what state you live in, you should investigate your state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Most state plans will pay what insurance doesn't for HIV medications. But ADAP varies from state to state; some are very broad; others are more limited and a few even have waiting lists. If your state's ADAP program is not broad you may want to consider moving to a different state.

There is an ongoing backlash against insurance companies who are putting HIV medications in the highest tier to discourage HIV+ people from enrolling. There are court cases and state insurance departments forcing them to change and advocacy groups are making this practice public so hopefully you will see some relief there.

As far as moving to another country for better health care coverage, all I can suggest is look in to those that have national or single payer health plans. There is a lot of hype in this country about how bad they are, but people I know in Canada, England, Netherlands, and other countries are quite happy with their coverage. And those programs provide HIV medications for little or no cost.

Sometimes I too look with fondness at the "good old days" when neighbors cared about each other and not just what is best for them. Then I remember all the millions that suffered discrimination and hate and persecution just because they were "different." Maybe those days weren't really that good.

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