Even though New York has the largest number of people living with HIV, David Wunsch, director of health policy at Gay Men's Health Crisis, does not believe a law like the one passed in California would be necessary there.
'In 1996 New York passed landmark legislation'a managed care bill of rights,' Wunsch explains. 'That legislation gives individuals with life-threatening or disabling diseases the right to specialty care, and HIV falls within those parameters.'
Most importantly, he notes, the legislation applies not only to HMOs but also to individuals with Medicaid. Under the legislation a person with HIV is entitled to a standing referral to a specialist. If the health plan does not have an HIV specialist, the health plan must pay the full cost for one outside of their network.