Senator and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris (D-CA) this week introduced legislation that would make pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) free for most patients.
CNN reports: “Some insurance plans cover the drug. But even as more private insurance plans will cover the drug, Medicare and Medicaid are not required to add the benefit, according to the bill and there would still be barriers for patients to get PrEP. Doctor visits, testing and other services could still be expensive and cost prohibitive.Harris’ PrEP Access and Coverage Act would address this need specifically, requiring public and private health insurance plans to cover PrEP and the tests and visits without a copay.It would provide financial assistance to states to give more access to PrEP to the uninsured and would prohibit life, long-term and disability insurance from denying coverage to people who take PrEP.”
Said Harris in a statement: “PrEP is a critical advancement in the fight against HIV that can finally provide peace of mind to Americans who live in the shadow of the HIV epidemic. But for too many in our country, lack of insurance coverage and exorbitant costs have put PrEP out of reach — and that needs to change. We must truly commit ourselves to HIV prevention by finally requiring every health insurance plan — public and private — to cover PrEP and all of the required tests and follow-up doctors’ visits. We must also provide the resources necessary to help people without insurance access PrEP. Nearly four decades since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis that took so many lives and caused countless others to live in fear, we can and will stop the spread of this disease.”