When we said yesterday “when the money stops, everything stops,” we were referring to banks’ and credit card processors’ rules for porn purchases. Today, it’s not the banks but insurance company Assurant Health putting on the financial brakes, and not on porn, but on PrEP.
Assurant Health is a Wisconsin-based provider specializing in individual and small business health care plans. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on the company’s plan to be “sold off or shut down.” The article states that both an industry insider and company executives place the blame for their financial woes on the Affordable Care Act specifically the provisions that prevented the denial or cancellation of policies due to pre-existing conditions. In other words, “Thanks, Obama.”
For the rest of us who mean it when we say “Thanks, Obama,” ABC news revealed that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce discovered that Assurant Health, along with WellPoint Inc. and United HealthGroup “canceled nearly 19,800 customer policies between 2003 and 2007.” They say it was to “combat insurance fraud.” The committee felt otherwise:
“These practices reveal that when an insurance company receives a claim for an expensive, life-saving treatment, some of them will look for a way, any way, to avoid having to pay for it,” subcommittee chairman Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said at the hearing.
Yesterday, Poz.com published a letter an Assurant Health member received specifically about his Truvada prescription. But days numbered or not, Assurant Health has drawn a line in the sand: After July 1, 2015, they will only cover Truvada if it’s being used “in combination with other antiretroviral agents” to treat HIV-1 infections and not for “preexposure prophylaxis,” aka PrEP.
But then, immediately following the shitstorm stirred by Poz.com’s piece, the company decided to change its mind. As Frontiers reports, Assurant VP Mary Hinderliter issued a statement already saying “We are reversing our decision and will be reaching out to policyholders who received the letter.”
This is good news and a good precedent when it comes to PrEP coverage nationwide, moving forward.
PrEP is something just about everyone has an opinion on. We also ran an article this week about Seth Fornea and PrEP and in the comments section, he shares his feelings on the matter with detailed eloquence. What is not an opinion, but reported by the New York Department of Health, is that the cost of Truvada medication alone is “between $8,000 and $14,000 per year.” While you can’t put a price tag on health, that is a tidy sum to come out of pocket.
As published in Poz.com, the letter from Assurant Health to their members on Truvada:
One look at the pros and cons of PrEP
And a thank you, Mr. President