Guest Author - Barbara Sharpe
HIV medications and treatment are expensive. How to pay for treatment is a concern for most people who are HIV positive.
The first thing, of course, is to check your health insurance, if you have it. Depending on what kind you have, various levels of care will be covered. For many, the biggest restriction is on prescriptions. Co-pays for branded drugs get higher every year ($50 or more for some people), and often a treatment regimen will include several medications, so it can be cost prohibitive for some people. Most health insurance companies do not pay for an alternative or complimentary treatments. If they do, they are limited. Chiropractic care and mental health care are the most commonly covered. In some places, acupuncture and others might be, so it doesnít hurt to ask.
Another option is the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) which is a federal program but administered by each stateís department of community health. The Access Project is a national nonprofit that helps people get connected to local resources. Another option for you is to find your local AIDS Service Organization (ASO). You can find a list of ASOs at HIVPositiveMagazine.com and then look for the link to ASOs. They are listed state by state. If there isnít one listed thatís close to where you live, call them anyway. They can tell you if there is something closer. The need can exceed the demand for ADAP funds and in some states there is a waiting list.
If a person is unable to work because of their HIV, they can receive payments from either their private disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from Social Security. If you do qualify for SSI, then they will also qualify for Medicaid which will pay for HIV treatments.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does offer medical care to veterans. In some places, there are complains about quality and accessibility of care but at others itís excellent. All you can do is investigate the options available to you locally. As with any healthcare provider, ask lots of questions and donít be intimidated.
Many drug companies often have patient assistance programs as well. You can find out the manufacturer of the drug you take and research it. Your physician will have to fill out some forms and return them and the process can take several weeks. Once again, a case manager from an ASO will be very helpful.
While it isnít a quick and easy process, help is there if you need it. Donít be afraid to ask.