August 10, 2010
Under the new health care reform law, the federal government has created a temporary insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions. Each state and D.C. will have their own program, and most will be run by the state, though some are run by the federal government. The programs will have premiums, in many cases deductibles, and co-pays for services. Although the program may be expensive for many with HIV, states will provide some assistance with the additional costs through their Ryan White funding.
If you are living with HIV and have not had insurance in the past six months (Ryan White services are not considered insurance) you may be eligible for this new pre-existing insurance coverage. You may also be eligible for help with the costs of the program. Many of the programs are currently up and running and others are projected to start in late August or early September. It is important to look into these programs as soon as possible because many experts feel that the money allocated to fund will not be sufficient to cover everyone in needs. Enrolling earlier is a better option.
One good source of information is the new website set up by the federal government, www.healthcare.gov, which can help identify ways to access health care services or assistance with costs related to health care. The site is comprehensive and, although it may be slightly difficult to use, it is a good resource for more information. State Offices of AIDS and community based organizations in the local areas should know if there are programs to assist with the costs of this insurance coverage. For local and state contacts, check www.atdn.org/access/pa.html or call the Project Inform Infoline at 1.888.448.4636.