Over the weekend, one of our federal employee "John Doe" clients received a nice surprise from his health insurer: the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association ("BCBS") will no longer charge higher (discriminatory) co-pays for HIV drugs and has taken HIV drugs off its mandatory mail-order drug list, which threatened patient health, safety, and privacy.
Read the letter from BCBS here.
Consumer Watchdog attorneys have brought successful lawsuits against Anthem Blue Cross and United Healthcare regarding those companies’ "specialty drug" mail-order programs. Both Anthem Blue Cross and United Healthcare have settled those lawsuits by agreeing to allow HIV/AIDS patients to “opt-out” of the mail-order mandate. You can read news coverage of those lawsuits here.
Consumer Watchdog is continuing to investigate this discriminatory behavior. If you or a loved one has been impacted by these or similar practices, please let us know right away. (Complaints can be marked private and will not be shared.)
Read the demand letter Consumer Watchdog sent to BCBS here.
In addition to the health, safety, and privacy threats that shadow all HIV drug mail-order programs, federal employees also faced increased costs even when they purchase their HIV/AIDS medications through the BCBS mail-order program, regardless of whether those drugs were generic or brand name. Under changes adopted as of January 1, 2014, federal employees were required to pay higher co-pays for their HIV/AIDS drugs as a result of changes to drug-pricing “tiers.” This is the same discriminatory activity targeted by an administrative complaint recently reported on by the New York Times. Responding to pressure from patients, BCBS has also ended discriminatory drug-pricing practices.