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Paying for HIV Medications

Avenues to Explore When Drug Insurance isn't Enough to Pay the Bill

By

Updated January 16, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

From the day HIV medications broke onto the HIV scene, it was very obvious they were going to cost a lot of money. Regimens soon included two, three and even four drugs, all very expensive on their own but out of reach for most people when put together.

Luckily, drug insurance companies, the government, and even drug manufacturers stepped forward to ease the financial burden. This feature is to provide you with contact information for various patient assistance programs that will help fund your medication regimen.

HIV Co-pay Programs

For those who are fortunate to have private drug insurance, co-pays often are enough to break the bank. For example, say your drug coverage pays for only 80% of the retail cost of your HIV regimen. That leaves you with the remaining 20%. It doesn't sound like much until you consider the cost of some of the HIV drugs we prescribe. It is not unusual for each drug in a regimen to cost $1,000 or more per month. So in a 3-drug regimen, you are talking 20% of $3,000 each month, which is $600. For many people, that could spell financial disaster.

However, there are co-pay assistance programs to ease the burden. For instance, the state of Michigan has co-pay assistance as part of the HIV/AIDS Drug Assistance Program. For states that don't, and for people who have high co-pays through their commercial insurance, here is a list of co-pay assistance programs, along with contact information.

Abbott - Positive Partner PLUS Card

  • Covers Kaletra and 2 other HIV medications when part of a regimen
  • No income or co-pay eligibility criteria
  • Provides $50/month for Kaletra and $50/month for each of two other HIV meds in the same regimen
1-800-556-8317 or http://www.kaletra.com

Boehringer Ingelheim - Viramune Co-pay Savings Card

  • Payment in the form of a MasterCard debit card
  • Pays up to $50 of co-pay for Viramune each month for 12 months
  • Debit card honored at traditional and mail-order pharmacies
http://www.viramune.com

Bristol-Meyers Squibb - Reyataz and Sustiva Co-pay Benefit Program

  • Covers Reyataz and Sustiva
  • Benefit up to $200/month
1-888-281-8981 or http://www.bms.com

Bristol-Meyers Squibb / Gilead Sciences - Atripla Co-pay Assistance Program

  • Covers high co-pays
  • Patient responsible for first $50 and any amount over $250
1-866-784-3431 or http://www.atripla.com

Gilead Sciences - Truvada Co-pay Assistance Program

  • Covers Truvada, Emtriva, and Viread
  • Covers co-pays ranging from $50 to $200 per month
1-888-358-0398

Merck & Co. - Isentress Patient Savings Coupon Program

  • Covers Isentress only
  • Covers co-pays from $30 to $400/month
1-866-350-9232 or http://www.isentress.com

Tibotec - Tibotec Therapeutics Patient Savings Program

1-866-961-7169 or Tibotec Patient Assistance

ViiV Healthcare - MySupportCard

1-888-825-5249 or http://www.mysupportcard.com

Source

Berry, J.; "Pick a Card; Pick a Plan"; Positively Aware; March/April 2010.

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