On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed The Affordable Care Act, (ACA), into law and it is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the fight against HIV/AIDS in history because it provides more healthcare coverage and more medical insurance options to HIV/AIDS patients.
The ACA expands the capacity of the healthcare delivery system by:
- Expansion of community health centers
- Delivering culturally competent care, and
- Increasing the healthcare workforce for underserved communities
Below, we will cover ways in which the Affordable Care Act helps people living with HIV/AIDS:
- Ensures coverage for people with pre-existing conditions – HIV/AIDS patients (as well as many others) cannot be dropped or denied coverage.
- Expanded Medicaid coverage – Medicaid is the largest payer for HIV care in the US. In Medicaid expansion states HIV positive patients who meet the income threshold no longer have to wait for a diagnosis of AIDS to become eligible, which means they can receive care before the immune system is destroyed.
- More affordable private health coverage – ACA created the Health Insurance Marketplace (exchanges).
- Decreased prescription costs for Medicare/Medicaid recipients.
- Ensures coverage of preventive services including HIV testing – http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/preventiveservices/HIVAIDS.htm provides a helpful table of recommended preventive services for people living with HIV.
- Ensures coverage of essential health benefits.
- Increases coordinated care for people with chronic health conditions – HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau website (http://hab.hrsa.gov/affordablecareact/ ) offers guidance on provisions of the ACA for the Ryan White program and for healthcare homes.