Health insurance helps HIV patients more than drug assistance

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A new study has shown that low-income patients in Virginia are benefiting from the healthcare reform.

The findings of a new study have now revealed that low-income patients with HIV and who have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act in Virginia – one of the states that chose not to broaden its Medicaid program – are experiencing better prognoses and have a greater likelihood to obtain viral suppression than their counterparts who were continuing to use the AIDS Drug Assistance Program in the state to receive their medication.

This is an important discovery, as the greater the use of viral suppression, the lower the risk of transmission.

Dr/ Kathleen McNanus from the University of Virginia’s division of infectious diseases and international health, in Charlottesville, explained that the more people receive these medications – as is the case when they have health insurance – the lower the rate of transmission of HIV. She also explained that “We also found that the relationship is a dose-related response.” Speaking at an IDWeek 2015 conference, she stated that “If someone enrolled in Affordable Care in January, they were more likely to achieve virologic suppression than if they enrolled by April or June.”

This suggests that health insurance coverage they receive through the Affordable Care Act is benefiting HIV patients.

Health insurance exchange awarenessThere are considerable challenges that are faced by many low-income patients who have HIV and who need care. The problem is especially present among those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but who don’t make enough to be able to afford insurance policies and medications.


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In Virginia, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program was created before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It was designed to help to make sure that people who were uninsured or who were underinsured would still be able to gain access to antiretroviral therapy, primarily through HIV clinics that were receiving funding by way of the Ryan White Program.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act made it possible for eligible patients to enroll in health insurance with added assistance from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which assisted patients in finding a plan and helped to pay for the premiums, medication copayments, and the deductibles.

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