Four U.S. Health Insurers Accused of Discriminating Against People With HIV

This article was reported by New York Times.

The New York Times reported that the AIDS Institute and the National Health Law Program filed a complaint this week with the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights against four health insurance companies for allegedly discriminating against people with HIV or AIDS in Florida. The complaint against CoventryOne, Cigna, Humana, and Preferred Medical Plan claims the insurance companies violated the new healthcare law by charging high prices for HIV medications, including generics, as well as restricting access to them.

"This practice has no rational reason other than to drive people with HIV and AIDS away from their plans," said Wayne Turner, a staff lawyer with the National Health Law Program.

Representatives for the foursome retort that their HIV drug plans meet requirements for coverage and are similar to other medical plans. Cigna said they offer other plans that include more comprehensive coverage; Humana stated that other chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, are also on a high payment tier.

The complaint asserts that the insurance companies specifically discriminated against HIV as a disease since all drugs, whether they were inexpensive, generic medications or not, were placed on the highest tier cost to the consumer. "Other plans don't do this for HIV, and that's why we're proving that it's discrimination," said Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute.