Tag Archives: money

Money, Meds, and HIV

Tylenol, Advil, Aleve.

How many of you have heard of these medicines?

How about Truvada, Sustiva, Fuzeon, Norvir? Most people have not heard of those three medicones. However if you have HIV or work with those infected then you may have heard of those medicines.  Truvada cost about $1200 for a month’s supply. Fuzeon currently cost about $2950 for a month’s supply.

The real question is who can really afford this medicine? Insurance companies do not cover all of this. And some of the people with HIV have to take more than one medicine. Now all of the medicine is not into the thousands. However, most of the medicines are over $100 a month. Moreover, the average person with HIV pays about $1200 a month for medicine. Some research claims that the amount is $1900 a month.

Do the math. $1900 a month times 12 months is $22800 a year. Which breaks down to $10.96 an hour 40 hours a week times 52 weeks. Using this formula, a person with HIV would have to make a minimum of $40,000 a year just to make ends meet, and be single, and have no kids.

I see why the eradication of HIV is very important. The cost is becoming astronomical. The number of those infected is increasing. Those with HIV are living longer, and there are still those who contract HIV and then decide to spread it to everyone they can.

So the price of medicine goes up, the number of those infected goes up, and those who are infected start to live longer. And why does the medicine cost so much. Well, there is so much money that goes into making one single pill. And to recuperate the money that goes into that pill the cost is set as such. There is a 25 year time limit. After 25 years a generic form of the medicine can be produced.

So what’s the plan?

Coming 6/27/14

The Story Within – A Scrapbook of the Eradication of HIV/AIDS in the US

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The Process

What happens when someone test positive for HIV? What is the process? The positive lab is reported to the Health Department by the doctor who ordered the test and/or the lab who performed the test. Once the Health Department is aware of the lab, they then contact the individual who tested positive. The Health Department will sit and explain the process of HIV with the patient and discuss the test. At that point it changes from state to state what happens after that.

Some states ask for all of the sex partners of the patient. Every state sets the patient up with an infection specialist or internal medicine doctor. There are some states that make you sign forms that say you will not have sex any more. The repercussions of having sex could be up to 5 years in prison. Yes, prison, not jail. Why is this?

But what many with HIV don’t know is that their name is forever saved and updated in a collection of databases that are used to keep up with and link those infected with HIV.  For what reason do these databases need to be updated? The answer: To keep a record of the most recent test results of each infected individual. To see where the patient is getting services from and if the patient is getting services from more than one grant funded organization.

Go to Google or Bing and look up “STDMIS” or “Careware”. These are just two of the systems. Look and see what you find out. I do not choose to give you all of the information that I know right now. However, just knowing that there are systems like this should make you think long and hard about who you have sex with.

But where does all of this money come from for these grants? The US government spends $84 Billion a year for HIV meds, grants, jobs, programs, surveillance, education, etc… Eighty-four billion. $84,000,000,000.

Coming summer 2014:

The Story Within: A Scrapbook of the Eradication if HIV/AIDS in the US

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Now What

With the Affordable Care Act and the rising cost of insurance, and….. those with HIV/AIDS getting full health care now, what is there in store? Well, one out of 4 individuals with HIV/AIDS have/had health insurance. The cost of them going to the emergency room was already being handed over the rest of those using the ER and other services in the hospital. It was estimated that hospitals as a whole were loosing $24 million a year from unpaid ER bills from HIV patients. So what now? It is great and wonderful that HIV patients can now get healthcare without having to wait a grace period before being covered.

But the cost of health care I feel is going to be outrageous for those with HIV. not saying that all people with HIV are poor, but most are barely making ends meet. If only one in four had insurance before, how in the world are they going to afford health care through an Affordable Care Act that has driven up the cost of health care? If the medicine alone is $1300 a month on average and the health care in running $400 or more a month and they still have to eat, live, pay bills, etc… One would think that the insurance would pay for the medicine, but there is a laundry list of medicines that health insurers refuse to pay for. And would you like to guess which medicines are on that list: yep, many HIV meds. There is ADAP, which is an HIV/AIDS medicine program, but it’s up in the air what’s going to happen with that program once the ACA is in full effect.

Now what? That’s the big question that is being asked in the HIV/AIDS community.

Coming 2014, my new book

The Story Within: A Scrapbook of the Extreme Eradication of HIV/AIDS in the US

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Blank Check

Starting in 2014 people with HIV/AIDS who were once denied medical/health insurance will be able to get insurance with no waiting period and cannot be turned down for a pre-existing condition. So, let’s look at the money. If the cost of HIV medicine is $1300 a month on average, and the patient has 2 to 4 appointments a year, what is that going to cost the insurance company? Now you multiply that by the over one million infected people in the USA without health insurance. Yes, it’s great that individuals who previously could not get insurance now can get insurance. But at what cost, literally, will that hurt those who use that same insurance company that will offset those cost to those who never get sick, but must get insurance?

This blank check is going to hurt. There will not be a cap on yearly coverage. There will not be a cap on lifetime coverage. I’m not into the stock market, but if I were, I would not buy stock in any insurance company stock anytime soon. I would however buy stock in the company that makes the HIV meds.

What will happen when the insurance companies realize insuring HIV/AIDS patients is going to cause the blank check to bounce?

The Story Within – The Extreme Eradication of HIV/AIDS in the US, my new book coming Summer 2014

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What to do with the problem no one talks about?

There are around 2 million people in the US with HIV/AIDS, but no one talks about that problem anymore. BET and MTV has their specials here and there, but no one is really talking about the subject t anymore. I guess we care more about people who are famous for nothing, reality TV, and (sometimes) politics to even care that the government spends about $83 billion a year in the area of HIV/AIDS. Yes, a year.  That’s $227.4 million a day. But we don’t hear about that spending problem.

Did you know that only 1 on 4 people with HIV/AIDS have private health insurance? So who foots the bill when they go to the ER and needs their medicine – medicine that averages $1300 a month? How do we solve this problem?

Coming Summer 2014 – The Story Within: The Extreme Eradication of HIV/AIDS in the US

 

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