HIV is widespread in the United States affecting approximately 1.3 million Americans to date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this estimate will increased over time.
HIV patients will endure a large amount of financial burden. This is a long-term pain that many patients are unable to overcome. As a result, patients can find it difficult to pay for medication, treatment and afford basic living costs.
What Is The Cost Of HIV Treatment?
The cost of HIV treatment and medication can vary depending on a range of factors. The main factors are the type of treatment plan or regimen you require as well as the severity or stage of HIV you are in. These two factors alone can determine whether your medical expenses will be on the low end or high end of the scale.
For example, optimal HIV treatment can costs $18,300 or more. This is compared to receiving 48 weeks of treatment for HIV and hepatitis C which can have a combine cost of $29,000 or more.
However, on average the cost of HIV treatment can range between $14,000 up to $20,000 annually. This estimate was provided by Michael Kolber, from the Comprehensive AIDS Program and Adult HIV Services at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. As there is no cure, HIV patients will require to receive ongoing treatment for their remaining life-time.
Newer drugs on the market for HIV patients can also provide better results in management of HIV. However, these modern drugs will often come at a higher price. Some HIV drugs can cost over $400,000 in a persons lifetime.
4 Ways To Reduce The Financial Burden Of HIV
If you are struggling with your medical bills and are unable to access medication and treatment for HIV, there are a few ways to help reduce the burden.
1. Don’t Skip Medication, Appointments And Prescriptions
Many patients who are unable to pay for treatment choose to go without medication and treatment all together. Patients have also avoided appointments with doctors and hospital visits in order to cut down costs.
Not only is this detrimental to your health and well-being, it can also mean you may risk developing drug-resistant HIV. Being drug-resistant means that the current drugs may not work as effective, making it more difficult for your body to cope with HIV. As a result, your medical provider or doctor will have to prescribe you additional drugs which will increase the cost of your ongoing medication and treatment plan.
Patients should do what they can to maintain a level of good health. This may be eating healthy and exercising to prevent infections and other health conditions to develop.
2. Seek Alternative Medication And Drugs
Speaking with your clinic or doctor is a good idea if you want to find out what other medication brands and drugs are available on the market which are more affordable.
You may be able to switch your HIV drugs to a more cheaper alternative without compromising your health and well-being.
3. Manage Your Money
It’s always a great idea to consider financial planning as a way to ease the burden of HIV. Patients can create an excel sheet to keep track of medication expenses, household expenses and other costs associated with your treatment.
Also take in consideration any benefits, grants, income and savings you may have. This will help you make sure you pay your bills on time and have enough for your medication. Checking all medical bills before paying can also ensure that you are paying for medication and treatment you have received.
4. Cutting Back
Patients who are struggling financially should also review their expenses to see whether there are items that can be cut back or not purchased at all. Items such as clothing, subscriptions, expensive outings and other products that are not necessary should be cut back in order to accommodate for the cost of your medical treatment.
7 Options For Financial Assistance For HIV Patients
1. Ryan White Program (HRSA)
The Ryan White Program (HRSA) offers individuals with HIV financial assistance to receive proper medical care and treatment. HIV patients must have low-income or no health insurance to cover medical treatment in order to receive support.
Some of the programs and services offered by the Ryan White Program provide financial assistance for HIV patients include:
– AIDS Drug Assistance Program: This program covers the cost of medications to treat HIV disease, funding for insurance continuation and other services related to accessing drug treatment for HIV patients.
– Dental Programs: Provides reimbursements for dental and oral hygiene costs related to HIV.
– Early Intervention Services: Funding for patients who have recently been discharged from hospital or medical care. The program aims to assist patients with adjusting and living with HIV independently.
– Grants: Grants are also available to help those who are severely affected by HIV AIDS and require immediate medical attention.
– Services for Women, Infants, Youth, Children, and their Families: There are specific services also available for women, children and vulnerable families who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Financial assistance is provided to help with primary medical care, treatment and support services.
2. TARGET Center
HIV patients can also receive financial assistance through the Technical Assistance for the Ryan White Community otherwise known as The TARGET Center. This is a central website where individuals can access resources and information about the training available in your local area.
3. HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA)
Patients with HIV can also obtain grants from the HIV/AIDS Bureau. This grant program is under the Ryan White Program. Patients with HIV can also receive training, education and other helpful resources to assist in minimizing the cost of your medical expenses.
4. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program
The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS programunder the US Department of Housing and Urban Development was developed to ensure the needs of HIV patients who are experiencing financial strain were met.
HIV patients are able to tap into financial assistance for housing and other social services. The aim of the program is provide financial assistance for patients who are struggling to cover everyday living and household expenses while paying for treatment and medical care.
Patients who are accepted into the program must use the funds provided for rent, health care, living expenses and/or mental health services.
5. Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Co-payment programs are setup to help patients with financial assistance for HIV patients to cover the out of pocket costs associated with medication, drugs and treatment. For HIV patients, you can access these programs through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance which provides a range of programs available to you.
PeoplePledge is an online website that helps individual raise funds online from family and friends to get financial assistance for HIV patients. You can create and run a fundraiser online for yourself or for a loved one with an illness or disability. This is a free service where patients are able to use the website to create a fundraiser to receive financial assistance.
Support through donations can provide substantial financial assistance for individuals who are unable to cover the cost of medical treatment and other medical related expenses.
Patients will share their fundraising page to family and friends through social media, email and word of mouth.
7. Medicaid and Medicare
These two federal programs offer HIV patients with financial assistance through low-cost health insurance and benefits. This means individuals can access medication and treatment such as HIV drugs, more easily and at a more affordable price.
There are restrictions on both programs in terms of the annual benefit allowed. Once you’ve reached this limit, patients will have to pay $3,051 out of pocket.
1) A Family’s Story Underlines Need for Financial Resources for HIV and AIDS Patients: http://www.blackenterprise.com/money/consumer-affairs/financial-resources-for-hiv-aids-patients/
2) Treatment and Care Programs: http://www.aids.gov/federal-resources/hiv-aids-programs/treatment-and-care-programs/
3) Program Fact Sheets: http://hab.hrsa.gov/abouthab/programfactsheets.html
4) USA HIV & AIDS Statistics: http://www.avert.org/usa-hiv-aids-statistics.htm
5) Statistics Overview: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/
6) Can You Afford Your HIV Treatment?: http://www.everydayhealth.com/hiv-aids/can-you-afford-hiv-treatment.aspx
7) Money and HIV: http://www.positivelyaware.com/2011/11_07/financial.shtml
More HIV Patient Financial Assistance Resources
- Financial help for HIV patients living in Florida Currently there are 126,581 residents in 2012 living in Florida who have been diagnosed or are living with HIV. Getting financial help for HIV patients is crucial particularly if you re having difficulties covering your medical expenses. The average cost for a HIV patient is approximately $24,000 per year. This includes the ongoing cost of prescription ... Read more