Fla. health insurance officials reach deal with Coventry Healthcare on HIV/AIDS drug pricing

By : Wire Report
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Tallahassee – An agreement has been reached to ensure Florida residents living with HIV/AIDS, who are covered by Coventry Healthcare of Florida, have access to the needed medications. Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin M. McCarty reached a deal with the healthcare insurance provider on Nov. 20; Aetna Insurance is a parent company of the Coventry Healthcare provider.

On Nov. 10, Florida insurance officials and Cigna reached a similar agreement to change its prescription drug policy to ensure Floridians with HIV/AIDS have access to necessary medications.

“We at AIDS Healthcare Foundation applaud the Commissioner again for his actions and for his attentiveness to this issue of medication access for persons living with HIV disease in Florida, during a time when consumers—especially those with HIV disease—are confronted with a significantly shifting and confusing payer landscape,” said Michael Kahane, Southern Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in a press release.

Florida health insurance officials learned Coventry was in violation of Florida statues for placing the medications needed by HIV/AIDS on the highest tier of their drug formulary. That requires prior authorizations to fill prescriptions, which would in turn result in other discriminatory step protocols for HIV/AIDS consumers to receive medication.

The complaints filed against Coventry and Cigna result from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which forbids insurers from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions. Health advocates have said that these healthcare insurance companies, though, have found other ways to discourage consumers with pre-existing conditions from choosing them.

Over the past months, national health organizations have filed complaints that insurance companies have used these alternative ways to force prices for these medications to be high, which in turn make it difficult for HIV/AIDS patients to receive medication that they need.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the industry and with the Commissioner and his staff in ensuring that policy decisions are not made or enacted that will impede successful care and treatment for persons living with HIV disease in Florida,” said David Poole, Director of Legislative Affairs for AHF’s Southern Bureau, in a media release.

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