World AIDS Day

With more than “34 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide,”1 the need for awareness of prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS has reached an extraordinary level. No population has been omitted from the devastation of this disease, including Medicare beneficiaries. Reports indicate “Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older and younger adults with permanent disabilities, is an important source of health coverage for an estimated 100,000 people with HIV.”2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging everyone to observe World AIDS Day on December 1. This special day commemorates those living with AIDS and those who have died of HIV/AIDS, and also focuses on the need for continued research in prevention, treatment, and care.
HIV screenings are crucial for early diagnosis when disease management plans have been known to have success. All Medicare beneficiaries have access to AIDS screenings as a benefit under Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage. You will pay nothing for the test, and the Part B deductible does not apply, but you generally pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor's visit. If you belong to a Medicare Advantage Plan, they must offer at least the same benefit as Original Medicare. Contact your plan for more detailed information.

Medicare beneficiaries have many coverage options, and if you have HIV/AIDS, you may be able to join a Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP). If you have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), live in a particular Special Needs Plan’s service area, and meet the plan’s eligibility requirements, you may be able to join one of these special Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare SNPs limit their enrollment to individuals with specific diseases or characteristics, and offer benefits, provider choices, and drug formularies (list of covered drugs) to best meet the specific needs of the groups they serve. Run by private companies approved by Medicare, SNPs may offer the coverage that will best fit your needs.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC Features; World AIDS Day;
2 The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; HIV/AIDS Policy; February, 2009;