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La. insurers agree to keep taking HIV payments

1 year ago March 10, 2014 Mar 10, 2014 Monday, March 10 2014 Monday, March 10, 2014 3:24:47 PM CDT in Health
Source: WBRZ
By: Russell Jones

BATON ROUGE - Three Louisiana insurance agencies agreed to keep taking federal money Monday to help low-income Louisiana residents with HIV.

The decision came at the end of a U. S. District Court hearing in Baton Rouge, and lasts until the next open insurance enrollment period begins on Nov. 15.

BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana originally said they would stop taking all third-party premium assistance after March 31. That included federal subsidies from the Ryan White Program, which was created to help lower-income people living with HIV pay for treatments and medication. Two other Louisiana insurers, the Louisiana Health Cooperative and Vantage Health Plan, followed suit after BlueCross Blue Shield of Louisiana made their decision.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of a New Orleans resident living with HIV to reverse the decision.

"There was a Sword of Damocles hanging over our client and other Louisianans," said Scott Schoettes, senior attorney and HIV National Project director for Lambda Legal. "That imminent threat has been removed."

BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana said they were following the advice of the national health officials, who warned last year that accepting third-party insurance premium payments could create a possibility for fraud.

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services later issued a statement that their warning did not include federal payments, specifically citing Ryan White payments.

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