Quantcast
Connect with us

‘High risk homosexual behavior’: Insurer under fire for denying coverage for HIV drug

Published

on

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

An insurer denied HIV medication to a gay man for allegedly “engaging in high-risk homosexual behavior.”

A letter from United HealthCare posted in a Facebook group for HIV awareness showed the insurer declined to pay for the man’s prescription for Truvada, which treats and reduces the risk of HIV infection and would cost up to $1,500 a month out of pocket.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This decision is based on health plan criteria for Truvada,” the letter reads. “The information sent in shows you are using this medicine for engaging in High risk homosexual behavior.”

The insurer tells the man his plan covers Truvada only if used to treat HIV infection, reduce the risk from possible HIV exposure or potential HIV exposure for certain high-risk patients – but the man was told he didn’t fit any of those criteria.

The letter claims the decision falls under New York state law governing health care coverage — but HIV activist Jeremiah Johnson said that’s not true.

“This was a malicious attempt to discourage PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) uptake by people who need it most,” said Johnson, of the Treatment Action Group.

PrEP intervention, usually available as the oral medication Truvada, is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc., which says the drug is among the most expensive they make.

ADVERTISEMENT

Johnson said the man’s doctor appealed the coverage denial, and United HealthCare ultimately paid for the drugs — but he said the episode highlighted significant barriers to treatment.

Truvada must be ordered online and delivered by mail, which Johnson said was problematic for anyone trying to safeguard their privacy, and requires an intricate report filed four times a year by their physicians.

“This is an enormous barrier for some people,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

United HealthCare issued an apology Thursday afternoon, saying the letter should not have been worded as it was.

“We apologize for the insensitive language appearing in the letter and regret any difficulty it caused,” United HealthCare said in a statement. “We have corrected our letters, removed the prior authorization requirement for Truvada and members can fill their prescription at the network pharmacy of their choice.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Raw Story CEO John Byrne is the co-founder of Prevention Access Campaign, a nonprofit focused on improving education and access to biomedical HIV prevention, including PrEP, and United HealthCare covers Raw Story employees.

The PrEP intervention is used by up to 100,000 patients in the U.S., and can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 99 percent.

An HIV activist group sent a letter to the New York health commissioner about the matter, and included a petition to sign on.

ADVERTISEMENT

Detail from letter sent by United HealthCare

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s lies and deception are catching up to all of us as the stock market posts ‘worst point drop ever on record’

Published

on

In a muddled, dishonest, rambling news conference from the White House press briefing room, President Donald Trump for over an hour talked to reporters Wednesday evening about coronavirus in an attempt to stave off three days of market near-collapse. He lied. He twisted the truth. He displayed little grasp of basic facts. He didn’t let the experts run the show.

He instilled no confidence Wednesday night. In fact, the DOW futures dropped as Trump began speaking:

Dow Futures dropped when Trump said the market fell 2k points because of the Dem debate pic.twitter.com/cvbviB2l9a

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘People’s lives will be lost’: Psychiatrist warns ‘sociopath’ Trump is ‘getting worse’ — and failing in coronavirus response

Published

on

President Donald Trump's psychological problems are getting worse and could be consequential as America faces a potential COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday interviewed Dr. Lance Dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"As you pointed out, Lawrence, this man is about himself. He really is not about the country, he's not about public health," Dr. Dodes said of Trump.

"Although he has already severely damaged the country by being a psychopath or sociopath -- in many ways, he's damaged democracy -- I think people's lives will be lost now," he warned. "Individual lives will be lost because of the way he's mishandling the coronavirus issue."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘Something really rotten’: Here’s the evidence of extensive voter suppression in Georgia’s notorious 2018 election

Published

on

As the 2020 presidential campaign cycle grinds on, there’s renewed concern about the 21st century’s newest form of warfare: cyber-sabotage of government systems, including elections and online disinformation intended to incite unrest. But as Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, a documentary from Brave New Films, makes clear, partisan voter suppression tactics with 20th-century roots remain and can thwart multitudes of voters from changing their state’s political leaders.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image