The latest estimates of costs for HIV patients, in 2010 dollars, were $23,000 annually and $379,668 over the course of an average lifetime. Despite the expense of care, there are ways for HIV patients to pay their medical bills and still have money left in the bank.
When looking for financial assistance, patients can find a number of available options.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program: HIV patients can visit this website, a service of the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration, and search for a local participating doctor’s office. Under the program, what patients pay for their care is based on whether they have insurance and their income. Participating offices can offer patients lists of other providers, such as different types of transportation options and dentists in their area.
Medicaid: More than 230,000 people in the U.S. living with HIV turn to Medicaid for assistance. If accepted, patients have access to a number of services including doctor visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital visits, physical therapy, prescription drug coverage, and other care. To apply, patients can check out the Healthcare.gov website.
Patient Assistant Program: Another way to get help is to sign up for a Patient Assistant Program with a specialty pharmacy. A PAP is for those who don’t have enough money to pay for their medications. HIV patients can go to the Partnership for Patient Assistance website and fill out an application and find out if they qualify. HarborPath, a nonprofit organization, also assists patients with applying for PAPs in certain states.
Co-pay programs: This is an option for people with private health insurance who need help paying for their drugs. After patients apply and get accepted to their programs, drug companies agree to pay a portion of their medication costs.
In-person assistance: To receive in-person help, HIV patients can make appointments with their local Social Security office, where government workers can guide them through application processes for federally funded programs. There are also offices in cities and counties that provide free HIV/AIDS counseling. Free clinics are scattered throughout the United States and serve those who qualify.