If you’re HIV-positive or have AIDS and have tried purchasing private insurance like, ever, you probably know there are either one of two outcomes: 1) You’re offered policies with premiums and deductibles so high that you can’t afford it; or 2) You’re denied coverage outright because of your, ahem, pre-existing condition. And the alternatives and workarounds, while worth trying, simply don’t apply to tens of thousands of Americans. The health care bill that Democrats pushed through Congress and President Obama signed today, then is great news for you.
You just have to wait a few more months. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the full name of the new law) “allocates $5 billion for the establishment of ‘high risk pools’ within 90 days across the country,” relays Slate. “These group insurance plans will provide coverage only for people with pre-existing conditions who can’t find insurance through normal avenues. By law, they must take all eligible applicants and can’t charge more than the standard rates.”
Then, when the “guaranteed issue” clause of the Act kicks in on Jan. 1, 2014, insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition. If you cannot afford insurance from a private carrier, you might be eligible for Medicaid or a statewide insurance exchange.
While some uninsured folks have found solutions for HIV and AIDS treatments through the Ryan White Care Act, it’s often a last resort. The new law will enable even healthy HIV-positive folks to secure HIV treatment coverage under standard insurance.
(NB: For whatever reason, we couldn’t find any information about how the health care overhaul impacts those with HIV on the website of Regent/Here Media’s HIV Plus magazine.