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Some in Missouri with HIV to lose health insurance in 2018

December 15, 2017

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some HIV-positive patients in nearly half the counties in Missouri will lose health insurance coverage next year.

The Department of Health and Senior Services announced that nearly 100 HIV patients in Missouri will no longer have access to a comprehensive health insurance plan effective Jan. 1 as a result of high costs.

The state has begun notifying some HIV-positive patients in more than 50 counties about the changes in coverage. The state helps direct federal funds from the Ryan White program to help those with HIV afford and access health care, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

“Available insurance plans in (51) counties do not meet ... mandated cost effectiveness criteria,” said department spokeswoman Sara O’Connor.

The Ryan White program is the largest source of federal grant money used to help HIV-positive patients, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. O’Connor said more than 2,300 people in Missouri relied on the program for coverage this year.

Missouri is believed to be the only state so far that has decided that it’s too costly to provide funds for coverage in some counties, said Martin Kramer, spokesman for Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees the program.

State officials said patients will still have access to the necessary medications. The state will move from buying insurance to buying the medication used to treat HIV.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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