On behalf of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, we respectfully submit this testimony in support of H.1085/S.619: An Act to address barriers to HIV prevention medication. We need to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from the results of the latest scientific innovations in HIV prevention. We urge the passage of this important bill to ensure that all Bay Staters using commercial insurance can access PrEP without a financial barrier or delay.
In public comments to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute suggests ways that the federal government can improve PrEP uptake: 1) having CMS ensure that private insurers comply with ACA $0 cost-sharing requirements, 2) having the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention dedicate more funding for PrEP, and 3) having HRSA ensure that the community health centers PrEP program works effectively.
We are concerned that without further Division of Insurance action, PrEP users in Massachusetts will continue to be charged cost-sharing in violation of the ACA mandate, and that those who cannot afford these copays will be in danger of PrEP discontinuation and seroconversion. We believe that the cases we have described are but the tip of the iceberg: only people with time, information, resources, and persistence come forward to pursue lengthy complaint processes with insurance regulators. We should also note that insurance regulators have occasionally wrongly denied complaints, as in one of the cases highlighted by the Boston Globe.
HIV+Hep strongly supports the “Copay Accumulator Amendment Act of 2021” (Bill 25-0141). It simply requires that the copay assistance beneficiaries receive counts towards their out-of-pocket obligation. By signing this law, DC will join 17 other states (Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Virginia) and Puerto Rico in protecting consumers by assuring their copay assistance will count towards cost-sharing obligations.