California Law Prohibits Transplant Surgery Denial Based on HIV Status
October 11, 2005
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a measure prohibiting health insurance companies from denying organ transplant coverage for HIV patients solely on the basis of their serostatus. The law, sponsored by Assemblymember Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), is the first of its kind in the nation to target such denials, which are often issued by most health insurers.
Reasons routinely given for a denial of coverage include an assumption that HIV-positive patients will not live long enough to justify the cost of transplantation or that such patients may be unable to handle the drugs used to suppress an immune response to the transplanted organ. However, HIV-positive adults on antiretroviral drugs whose virus is controlled have post-transplant outcomes similar to those seen among HIV-negative patients, studies show.
California's new law follows several successful legal challenges to health insurers' denials of organ transplant surgery coverage to HIV patients in California, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.