BREAKING: Allegations and Federal Civil Rights Complaint Filed Over HIV Drugs in Florida

Organizations say insurance carriers violate federal discrimination laws by placing HIV drugs in categories with excessive co-pays and deductibles.

BY Todd Heywood

May 29 2014 2:17 PM ET

The AIDS Institute and The National Health Law Project filed a federal civil rights complaint against four Florida health insurers Thursday. The complain, filed with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, alleges that the four insurers are violating federal nondiscrimination laws by placing HIV treatment medications in prescription service categories resulting in significantly higher deductibles and co-pays for persons living with HIV. 

The four named insurers are CoventryOne, Cigna, Humana, and Preferred Medical. 

"The ACA [Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare] provides robust consumer protections, including putting an end to discriminatory practices by health insurers," Wayne Turner, NHeLP staff attorney, said in a press release. "But these insurance plans are running afoul of that by placing all HIV/AIDS medications in the highest tiers with exorbitant co-insurance and co-pays, and instituting other barriers to obtaining commonly prescribed HIV/AIDS medications. The companies are going out of their way to discourage people with HIV/AID from enrolling in their plans — a blatantly illegal practice."

This is not the first time insurers have run afoul of ACA in regards to HIV care. In February, Lambda Legal filed a discrimination complaint with the same office over practices of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. In that instances, the insurer was refusing to accept premium payments from Ryan White funding. The company argued it would not accept third party payments from non-family members. It cited previous directives from HHS meant to curb fraud. 

 

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