In 2013, United Healthcare faced a national class action lawsuit alleging its mandatory mail-order requirement illegally targeted patients living with HIV/AIDS. According to a statement from Consumer Watchdog and Whatley Kallas LLP, the groups that brought the suit, a court-approved settlement was reached July 31. Starting September 4, HIV-positive United Healthcare patients can now opt-out of that requirement.
The suit spotlighted several problems. People with HIV/AIDS were increasingly facing mixed-ups medications, delayed deliveries, spoiled shipments and privacy concerns. Being forced to order their meds from the United Healthcare OptumRx mail-order program also denied these patients the ability to consult with their local pharmacists. Patients can now obtain a permanent exemption from the program.
To opt-out, patients need to state that they have concerns about privacy or delivery, or if they are unable to effectively talk on the phone because of an HIV-related neurocognitive disorder or other HIV-related impairment. Patients can submit a form downloadable here or call 866.803.8570 to be exempted. Patients also need to identify the in-network pharmacy they will use to get their HIV medications.