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U.S. News

New Jersey Sets Income Cap for Free AIDS Medications, Cutting Off Nearly 1,000

July 14, 2010

New Jersey is dropping 950 clients from its AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) effective Aug. 1, and cutting its formulary for the approximately 6,600 who will remain on the rolls.

"This is somebody's medications we're cutting," said Steve Scheuermann, executive director of the AIDS service organization New Jersey Buddies. "The idea that this saves costs is very shortsighted."

New Jersey had been one of only five states extending ADAP eligibility to those making up to five times the federal poverty level, or $54,150. Lowering the threshold to three times the poverty level, or $32,490, puts it on par with 28 other states.

"It's just a very difficult budget year," said Dr. Susan Walsh, New Jersey's deputy commissioner of health.

New Jersey's ADAP last year included 7,645 people, the vast majority of whom are uninsured. About half are African-American, and 27 percent are Latino. This year's $89 million budget is funded by the state (22 percent), the federal government (38 percent), and drug manufacturer rebates (38 percent).

New Jersey has not established a waiting list for ADAP enrollment. It is not clear yet whether New Jersey is eligible for $25 million in emergency federal funding announced last week for states that do have a waiting list.

"I'm doing my darnedest to see what additional dollars are available, but I don't want to hold up false hope," Walsh said.

The state's move forces many ADAP clients to make a difficult decision, said Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien, executive director of the Hyacinth Foundation, a statewide HIV/AIDS advocacy and service organization. Many ADAP clients hold jobs with health care coverage and use the program to offset steep prescription copays. In order to keep coverage, they will have to quit work, she said.

Back to other news for July 2010

Adapted from:
The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
07.12.2010; Lindy Washburn

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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.
See Also
New Jersey's New State Budget Will Cut HIV Treatment Access for 957 People, Group Warns
2014 National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (PDF)
ADAP Waiting List Update: 35 People in 1 State as of July 23
More on ADAP Restrictions and Waiting Lists

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