Three Los Angeles-based organizations — AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), the LA LGBT Center and The Thrive Tribe Foundation — have joined others in California in promoting a guide to choosing a health insurance plan for those infected with HIV or hepatitis C and those interested in using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the chance of HIV infection.
The guide explains important things to consider when choosing a plan and includes information about additional benefits that might be available to help pay for the cost of health insurance. The guide also includes an analysis of the availability of HIV, HCV, and PrEP drugs on each of the 10 plans’ drug formularies and the likely amounts people will have to pay for their medications.
Covered California open enrollment began Nov. 15,and ends Feb.15. However, if you would like your coverage to start on Jan. 1, you will need to enroll by next Monday and make your first premium payment by the due date to begin coverage. After open enrollment, you can only enroll through a special enrollment period, which occurs if you have a “qualifying life event” such as loss of a job, birth of a child, divorce or loss of insurance. If you choose not to enroll and don’t have other comprehensive health insurance, you may be required to pay a tax penalty.
Those interested in signing up for insurance through Covered California can do so at its website. Information is available there on subsidies to reduce the cost of insurance plans. Covered California also has a telephone number — (800) 300-1506 — but the number frequently is not answered and hold times for a representative can be an hour or more.