Policy Brief

Private health insurance available through Covered California Could Cost More Than Some People Living with HIV/AIDS Can Afford

September 1, 2013

Over 5,500 Californians living with HIV/AIDS access medical care and drug treatment at little or no cost through the Ryan White Program. They will be newly-eligible for coverage offered through California’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, beginning January 2014. Individuals who choose a private plan offered through the exchange will need to consider a number of factors including care providers, drug coverage, access to treatment, and cost. Federal and state financial assistance will help many of these individuals cover some or all of the out-of-pocket costs associated with the Covered California plans. However, many will face higher costs in private health plans than they do currently in the Ryan White program. Cost may not solely determine whether PLWHA enroll into a health plan offered through Covered California, but it will be a major factor and a potential obstacle to enrollment and care, and is consequently the subject of this analysis.