Some health care advocates are crying foul after a dispute over federal subsidies, and the interpretation of guidelines that prevent fraud has resulted in scores of patients in Louisiana being booted from their Obamacare plans, Reuters reports.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana argues that it is not trying to keep people with HIV/AIDS from enrolling in one of its policies under the Affordable Care Act, the article says, but advocates see the move as discriminatory.
The insurer, which is the state's largest carrier, reportedly is rejecting checks from a federal program designed to help these patients pay for AIDS drugs and insurance premiums, Reuters says. Blue Cross reportedly will no longer accept third-party payments, including those under the Ryan White Act, which many people with HIV/AIDS use to pay for health care.
"In no event will coverage be provided to any subscribers, as of March 1, 2014, unless the premiums are paid by the subscriber (or a relative) unless otherwise required by law," Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana spokesman John Maginnis told Reuters.
The dispute threatens treatment for hundreds of indigent HIV/AIDS patients who are dependent on Ryan White payments for Obamacare. They are not eligible for Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor, because Louisiana did not expand the low-income program, and Obamacare federal subsidies do not begin until people are at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, Reuters reports.
Health care advocates are working hard to find a solution to the problem. A cornerstone of President Barack Obama's signature health care law bans insurers from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions and was designed to replace these high-risk pools.
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