Due to a new policy from Louisiana's largest health insurer, hundreds of people living with HIV and AIDS are in danger of losing access to essential medication.
BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) is rejecting checks from a federal program designed to help these patients pay for AIDS drugs and insurance premiums and has begun notifying customers that their enrollment in its Obamacare plans will be discontinued because it will no longer accept "third-party payments." This funding was established through the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990 which has been crucial to ensuring that those living with HIV and AIDS can gain access to the medication they need.
Several months ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encouraged health plans to stop accepting "third-party payments," but this weekend (February 8th), CMS stated unequivocally that "federal rules do not prevent the use of Ryan White funds to pay for health care plans." BCBSLA said it is "reviewing and considering this new information," but we need commitments to help save and extend hundreds of lives in Louisiana.
As someone living with AIDS who helped found the local organization in Shreveport that oversees Ryan White funding, I know these funds change lives -- and I'm afraid that if BCBSLA gets away with denying this coverage, other insurers across the country could follow suit. Please join me in tell BCBSLA to accept federal funding for people living with HIV and AIDS and to stop this discrimination.
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