North Carolina May Expand ADAP Program
June 7, 2006
State legislators are discussing whether to extend North Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to more low-income people without insurance. About 2,500 people statewide rely on ADAP to pay for their AIDS treatment.
To qualify for North Carolina's ADAP, a patient can only make up to 125 percent of the federal poverty level -- approximately $12,250 for an individual -- the lowest threshold in the nation. However, in terms of raw dollars, the state is generous compared to others, according to Steve Sherman, North Carolina's AIDS policy coordinator. He said the state budget puts about $12 million a year into ADAP.
Sherman said now is a good time to raise the ceiling, since state-level cost savings have eliminated the waiting list, and Congress is reauthorizing federal ADAP fund allocations in such a way that North Carolina might receive more money. A budget version passed last month by the state Senate would raise eligibility to 250 percent of the federal poverty threshold. House budget writers propose boosting that to 300 percent, or about $29,400 a year for an individual, the same as eligibility levels in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Raising eligibility would allow the state to serve more people and help more ADAP patients to return to work without fear of losing their medications. Addison Ore, executive director of Triad Health Project, a Guilford County group that assists HIV patients, said expanding ADAP would help people who fall through the gap between those with health insurance and those poor enough to qualify under current eligibility criteria. Ore said about 1,900 people in Guilford County have HIV.
Statewide, 25,000-30,000 people have HIV, according to Sherman. In addition to treating HIV, the state should also look at boosting prevention funding, he said.
06.04.06; Mark Binker
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.