Donate Today

Anthem Blue Cross patients with HIV/AIDS may “opt-out” of a program that would have required them to obtain their medications by mail order under a settlement announced by Consumer Watchdog and Whatley Kallas LLC. 

The lawsuit, filed in January in San Diego Superior Court, alleged that Blue Cross’s mandatory mail order program announced late last year illegally targeted HIV/AIDS patients, threatening their health and privacy.
Download the lawsuit filed by Consumer Watchdog and Whatley Kallas here.

Download the settlement here.

Case Background

Due to the complex nature of HIV/AIDS drug regimens, patients rely on their local pharmacists who, working directly with patients, monitor potentially life-threatening adverse drug interactions.  Pharmacists also provide essential advice and counseling that help HIV/AIDS patients and families navigate the challenges of living with a chronic and often debilitating condition. 

HIV/AIDS patients also expressed serious concerns about a loss of privacy associated with the proposed mail order program. For example, HIV/AIDS specialty medications often are delivered in refrigerated containers. Patients who live in apartment buildings or have medications delivered to their work place expressed concern that neighbors and co-workers who were not aware of their condition would come to suspect that they were seriously ill.  Mail-order shipment also presents the risk of lost or stolen medications.

As a result of the settlement, any current Blue Cross member prescribed HIV/AIDS medications, and any member prescribed those medications in the future, have an unconditional right to opt-out of the Blue Cross mail-order program at any time.  Blue Cross members who opt-out can continue purchasing such medications at a retail pharmacy.

Beginning June 1, Blue Cross members will be able to opt-out of the mail-order program by contacting Blue Cross’s mail-order pharmacy, CuraScript, on a dedicated toll-free telephone line. Consumers currently prescribed such medications should receive a letter late next week from Blue Cross providing this telephone number and additional instructions for opting-out. Blue Cross members may also submit a claim for reimbursement of any out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of enrolling in the CuraScript mail-order program between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.

Related News Articles

Drug Retailer Targets HIV Patients

Amsterdam News, 3/1/13

Anthem Halts Rule Requiring Some To Buy Drugs By Mail

Los Angeles Times, 2/19/13

California insurer Suspends Mandaotry Mail-Order Prescription Plan

Reuters, 2/19/13

Anthem Backs Off Mail Order Pharmacy Mandate For California AIDS Patients

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, 2/19/13

Blue Cross Suspends Mail Order Program for HIV/AIDS Patients

KNBC-TV, 2/19/13

Anthem Blue Cross Halts Implementation of Mail-Order Rx Drug Program

California Healthline, 2/19/13

Anthem Blue Cross Backs Off on Controversial Policy

KPBS, 2/19/13

Anthem Delay's Mail-Order Rx Rule In Face of Suit
LAW 360.COM, 2/19/13

HIV Patients Say New Insurance Program 'Will Kill People'

KSWB-TV FOX, SD, 2/1/13

HIV, AIDS Patients Upset Over Blue Cross' New Drug Policy
KGO-TV ABC 7 SF, 1/23/13

Anthem Blue Cross Sued Over New HIV/AIDS Drug policy
KPBS, 1/15/13

Suit Claims Blue Cross Discriminates Against HIV/AIDS Patients
Reuters, 1/15/13

Insurer Sued on Behalf of Local HIV Sufferer,
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/15/13

HIV Patient Says Anthem Mail-Order Drug Plan Discriminatory
LAW360, 1/14/13

Anthem Sued Over A Drug Rule
Los Angeles Times, 1/12/13

Advocacy Group Says Anthem Blue Cross Pharmacy Program is Discriminatory
KQED's State of Health Blog, 1/15/13

Suit Claims Blue Cross Discriminates in HIV Cases
Associated Press, 1/15/13

San Diego Lawsuit Says Blue Cross Illegally Targeting HIV/AIDS Patients
City News Service, 1/14/13

Consumer Watchdog Files Suit Over Anthem's Rx Program
California Healthline, 1/16/13

Anthem's Mail-Order Policy May Have Crossed A Legal Line
Los Angeles Times, 1/10/13