US Gov To Make PrEP Free Through Insurance

Written by JosephJuly 22, 2021

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The U.S. government is making a strong push in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The U.S. government is making a strong push in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury have released new guidance alongside the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The guidance mandates that almost all insurance companies within the United States of America must make PrEP, the HIV prevention pill otherwise known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, free with no cost-sharing. This means that almost all insured individuals in the United States of America should be able to get the HIV prevention pill along with free and crucial clinical visits and lab tests.

This decision does come with some exceptions and complications, however. When it comes to getting Descovy over Truvada, there’s an extra hurdle. Descovy is the more recent version of the drug that is slightly more effective and slightly less toxic. A prescribing physician will have to persuade an insurer that Descovy is necessary for each specific patient to qualify for the free cost.

The anti-retroviral drug Truvada, which is a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine. / Image via Jeffrey Beall (CC)

The announcement of this guidance has come with praise from health experts and HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment advocates.

“Very welcome news and long overdue,” wrote Dr. Ofole Mgbako of Columbia Medicine on Twitter. “Now we need free access for the uninsured, who make up a significant portion of those living with HIV, particularly in the South and states without Medicaid expansion.”

 “While we need state Medicaid authorities and departments of insurance to follow through on implementation, this memo from the federal government literally made me jump for joy,” said Jim Pickett, senior director of prevention advocacy and gay men’s health at AIDS Foundation Chicago. “This has the potential to wipe out many of the access obstacles we face with PrEP provision. I look forward to radical improvements in PrEP access, particularly for the communities who are most vulnerable to HIV.”

The new guidance states that insurers have 60 days to comply to this policy change.

Check out the original story here: Instinct Magazine.

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