I have been HIV-positive for over 28 years. I have been a recipient of Social Security Disability benefits since I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1995. I have had Medicare coverage as a result of that disability designation since 1997.
Until Medicare Part D became law in 2006, I received help with my medication expenses from Ryan White dollars. After Medicare Part D became the law, every Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare recipient had to sign up for private insurance. Private insurance and Social Security Extra Help covered most of my costs for medications until this year, when my employer added more hours to my work week. The extra pay made me ineligible for the Social Security Extra Help. In January, my out-of-pocket cost for medication was over $900.
Since I work part time as the Client Advocate at a Ryan White-funded agency, I knew that the new guidelines for Ryan White help with medications in 2014 was now available for people earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level. I was able to see a case manager who filed for assistance with my medication costs through the HIV Drug Assistance Program. Beginning in February, I had no out-of-pocket costs for my lifesaving medications, aside from my modest monthly premium for my Medicare Part D insurance policy. Getting this assistance from Ryan White has meant that I can avoid dangerous interruptions in my treatment, stay healthy, and continue to work.
Take action now!
- Tell your legislators to continue to support the Ryan White program.
- Do you live in a state that has not expanded Medicaid? Let your legislators know how important Medicaid expansion is to your state.
- Check out advocacy tools and resources for Ryan White in Oklahoma.
Co-sponsors: AIDS United, Southern AIDS Strategy Initiative, Southern AIDS Coalition, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, HIVHealthReform.org, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
This campaign has been made possible by the generous support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Category: Ryan White. Real Lives.