Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS
Posted by Tim Murphy , October 02, 2013
Hey, HIV people…wait to see how this thing shakes out!
We’re only three days into Obamacare enrollment, including via New York’s website New York State of Health, and already we’re hearing about the system-crashing mass interest in the new health plans—particularly in New York, where the site got 10 million hits on its first day. We’re also hearing about glitches that are occurring, particularly for folks relying on the federal portal in the 34 states that opted out of setting up their own exchanges.
What about HIV-positive folks who lack coverage and are trying to get on a new Obamacare plan? (Granted, this may apply more to states beyond New York that have less generous Medicaid and/or ADAP programs.) Take a deep breath and wait is the advice from HIV Health Reform, a very good site set up by AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Treatment Access Expansion Project to help HIV+ folks and HIV service providers figure out how the new plans and HIV-positive needs fit together.
People have until December 15 to get coverage by January 1, reminds John Peller, VP of policy at AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “Not that they should wait that long,” he says, “but there’s time!”
According to HIV Health Reform, people with HIV need to pick a plan that ADAP can coordinate with (depending on their state and income level). But how do you know if a plan you like is coordinable with ADAP? “That’s why we’re telling people with HIV to wait to enroll,” says Peller. “ADAPs are now evaluating plans to see which ones they can coordinate with. A few states (Colorado is one) have already released lists.” Go here to see them.
Basically, says Peller, people with HIV need to ask about this, and providers need to ask, too. Not all state ADAPs have the ability to coordinate with marketplace plans, unfortunately. In states where they don’t have that capability, people with HIV and providers should advocate (loudly!) for this ability.
Additionally, says Peller, people need to pick a plan that includes their current provider (both HIV doc and other providers) and covers their meds (HIV and non-HIV). Plans will let prospective buyers see their doctor lists/drug formularies in advance to determine this. “But it takes a little digging,” says Peller. “You have to look on the insurance company’s website to find the lists.”
Finally, says Peller, people should seek help from an enrollment helper who has HIV experience. In New York, you can find some leads on that via this handy-dandy guide to Obamacare for New Yorkers (not just HIV+ ones) published by New York magazine.
We want to hear from HIV+ folks and HIV service providers, in or beyond NY state, about how this is going for them. Maybe it will help paint a macro picture of what needs to be fixed in terms of meshing ADAPs with the new health plans. So send your reports to Housing Works advocacy blog editor Tim Murphy and we’ll try to publish them as the weeks of enrollment continue.blog comments powered by Disqus
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