Medicaid and HIV/AIDS

People who are HIV positive or have AIDS have frequently had to experience discrimination. They even have difficulty finding private health care insurance due to lifetime coverage limits. Most of the time, people afflicted with HIV often apply for Medicaid assistance. Medicaid gives them opportunities for doctor visits and checkups, hospitalization, prescription medicine, home health care and long-term care if ever the need arises. Medicaid benefits help provide good health care for a good majority people with AIDS, with 90 percent of them children.

Medicaid is a state and federal health care program that functions as the United States’ principal plan for making health and long-term care coverage available to low-income Americans. Each state has Medicaid funding sourced from the federal government, with different amounts for every state. States that have lower budgets get a bigger contribution from the federal government. But a state cannot be given by the federal government lower than 50 percent or above 83 percent of their expenses. Medicaid costs in 2002 for people with HIV/AIDS that came from both federal and state coffers were projected at around $7.7 billion.

States normally need to present services to low-income individuals to get federal support for Medicaid. These individuals also collect federal assistance like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). States can also permit categorically needy people for Medicaid eligibility. A number of states are presently giving coverage to certain groups of people, such as the elderly, adults with disabilities, and those who receive state supplementary allowances.

Adults without children and who have HIV on average are only eligible for Medicaid benefits if they are also eligible for SSI. Since individuals who qualify for SSI have disabilities, people with HIV are only entitled to receive Medicaid assistance once their ailment advances to AIDS. People with HIV need to get medicine and medical care that will slow down the progress of their sickness and prevent infections and complications from happening. They will most likely not get all of these critical treatments since they are not eligible for Medicaid.

Some states can request a waiver from the federal government wherein they can further study and develop health care coverage for Medicaid. These waivers can broaden Medicaid assistance to include persons who have HIV. Although the waivers are technically for research and demonstration purposes, other states are also encouraged to ask for similar waivers in order to create a national program that will give Medicaid to people who are HIV-positive.

If these waivers do eventually put a national program into place, this gives a lot of help for HIV positive individuals. Caring for these people at an early stage in their disease will lessen expenses and new cases of infections from HIV will drop due to lower viral loads. The savings from programs like this can strengthen the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and they will be capable of giving care to a greater number of HIV positive individuals. Many people with HIV will experience a substantial progress in the quality of their lives. HIV positive individuals can benefit greater if Medicaid benefits are given to them at an earlier period than when they have full blown AIDS.