Ohio: State Funds Mix-Up Delays HIV Drug Payments
August 25, 2010
Adding to the concerns of Ohio HIV patients who receive government assistance for their medications, a recent computer glitch left at least nine people in danger of losing their insurance coverage.
Some COBRA clients who lost their jobs but whose previous insurance is extended through state-supported payments have been affected by the mix-up. A third-party insurance administrator contracted by the Ohio Department of Health (DOH) in July sent checks in some cases to the wrong address or to the right company but the wrong building. The delay placed some clients at risk of losing their insurance for lack of payment.
Katherine E. Shumate, administrator of the Ryan White Part B Program, said the DOH is looking into whether the problem is larger. "We're constantly scouring our data to make sure things are caught," she said, explaining that the new administrator is using a different, automated program to send the insurance checks.
Shumate said her department is working to ensure clients keep their insurance and has assisted those it knows have been affected by the glitch. Five of the nine known cases have been resolved, and the state is working on behalf of the others. "We're pretty relentless with arguing with insurance companies," she said.
Peggy Anderson of the Columbus AIDS Task Force said her staff helped resolve one of the cases. "By the time [the client] found out, he was very close to losing his benefits," she said. "It was down to the wire and it was very scary for him."
Ohio has made several cuts to its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and as of Aug. 20, 148 Ohioans were on a waiting list for help.
08.21.2010; Misti Crane
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