Four Insurers Accused of Discriminating Against People With H.I.V.

May 29, 2014 - The New York Times.

By Katie Thomas

Health care advocates said on Thursday that four insurers offering plans in the new federal marketplace discriminated against people infected with H.I.V. and AIDS by requiring them to pay high out-of-pocket costs for drugs to treat H.I.V., including generic medications.

Two groups, the AIDS Institute and the National Health Law Program, filed a complaint on Thursday with the Department of Health and Human Service's Office for Civil Rights, saying that the insurers violated a provision in the new health care law that bars companies from discriminating against consumers because of their medical conditions. They said that the insurers subjected people infected with H.I.V. to restrictions on medications that most patients take daily to keep the virus in check.

"The companies are going out of their way to discourage people with H.I.V. and AIDS from enrolling in their plans — a blatantly illegal practice," Wayne Turner, a staff attorney with the National Health Law Program, said in a statement.

The complaint claims that the four insurers — CoventryOne, Cigna, Humana and Preferred Medical — placed H.I.V. drugs on the highest payment tier for midlevel, or silver, plans on the federal health insurance exchange in Florida. Continue reading…

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