Humana agrees to cut costs of HIV drugs for Florida patients

Published Dec. 20, 2014

The third of four Florida insurers accused of overcharging HIV and AIDS patients for their medications has agreed to take steps to reduce those costs, advocacy groups announced Friday.

Humana signed an agreement with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation agreeing to reduce patient cost-sharing for all HIV drugs on the 2015 plans it sells on the federal marketplace in Florida.

Florida officials began investigating after two advocacy groups — the AIDS Institute based on Davis Islands in Tampa and the National Health Law Program — filed a federal complaint alleging four insurance companies had discriminated against HIV and AIDS patients.

The complaint said the insurers' popular "silver" plans sold through the marketplace are designed so that routine medications for HIV/AIDS patients come with the greatest out-of-pocket costs.

The insurers named in the complaint were Cigna, Humana, Coventry Health Care and Preferred Medical.

As part of the new agreement with the state, Humana will lower patient cost-sharing of HIV drugs from 50 to 10 percent co-insurance for the more costly HIV medications. For HIV drugs that are less than $600, Humana will lower the cost to patients from 50 percent co-insurance to a $50 co-pay.

State officials have reached separate agreements with Cigna and Coventry. In both of those agreements, the insurers agreed to limit patient cost-sharing for only four HIV drugs. The agreement with Humana affects all HIV drugs, the AIDS Institute said in a news release.

"This agreement will help ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS will have greater access to essential medicines in Florida at a more affordable cost," said Carl Schmid, deputy executive director for The AIDS Institute. "However, much work needs to be done."