With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act and recent launch of the state insurance exchanges, such as Covered California, there have been a number of questions regarding healthcare reform’s impact on federally-mandated healthcare programs, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Established in 1990 by the Ryan White Care Act, state ADAPs currently provide low-income people with access to life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment. Having managed ADAP programs around the country for more than 20 years, we have witnessed a lot of change and understand the importance of maintaining continuity of care as these programs evolve under healthcare reform. HIV patients that fall out of care can see a rapid advancement of the disease.
In some states, including California, many low-income patients with HIV/AIDS will become newly eligible for Medicaid or Covered California. To ease the transition process, patients newly eligible under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion will be transferred once their enrollment date is confirmed and that the patient meets the eligibility requirements. Patients eligible for the insurance exchange have several options, but will not be required to enroll in the exchange. Instead, California ADAP will continue to serve low-income HIV/AIDS patients who are underinsured (despite enrolling in the exchange), Medicaid ineligible (income>133%) or undocumented and unable to enroll in the insurance exchange.
For those patients who do choose to enroll in the Medicaid expansion or exchanges, we’re aiding in the transition by collaborating with both state and county health entities. Ramsell will continue to serve these patients as the Affordable Care Act takes effect, ensuring continued access to their live-saving medication. For those patients who remain enrolled in state ADAP programs, we will continue to provide valuable services. The Affordable Care Act is not eliminating state ADAP programs. It’s expanding Medicaid and insurance coverage to more people with HIV/AIDS while preserving an important program for patients that need assistance.