Exclusive: AIDS patients in Obamacare limbo as insurers reject checks

By Sharon Begley and Julie SteenhuysenFebruary 8, 2014 10:23 AM










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By Sharon Begley and Julie Steenhuysen



NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hundreds of people with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana trying to obtain coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform are in danger of being thrown out of the insurance plan they selected in a dispute over federal subsidies and the interpretation of federal rules about preventing Obamacare fraud.
Some healthcare advocates see discrimination in the move, but Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana says it is not trying to keep people with HIV/AIDS from enrolling in one of its policies under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The state's largest carrier is rejecting checks from a federal program designed to help these patients pay for AIDS drugs and insurance premiums, and has begun notifying customers that their enrollment in its Obamacare plans will be discontinued.
The carrier says it no longer will accept third-party payments, such as those under the 1990 Ryan White Act, which many people with HIV/AIDS use to pay their premiums.
"In no event will coverage be provided to any subscribers, as of March 1, 2014, unless the premiums are paid by the subscriber (or a relative) unless otherwise required by law," Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana spokesman John Maginnis told Reuters.
AIDS FUNDS EXEMPT FROM FRAUD CONCERNS
The dispute goes back to a series of statements from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the lead Obamacare agency.

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Are backhoes covered?