In the middle of his final exams as a college student in Massachusetts, Dan learned that his prescription for pre-exposure prophylaxis medication (PrEP) would no longer be covered by his health insurance plan. Dan had been purchasing PrEP through his father’s employer-sponsored health insurance, but his father had received a denial notice stating that the plan would no longer cover the medication.
Studies have shown that when used consistently, PrEP is up to 99% effective at preventing new HIV transmissions. Refills can cost upwards of $1,800 a month without coverage or before deductible requirements have been met.
Even though Dan’s father lived out of state, he was determined to help his son find an affordable way to get his medication. While Dan studied for his exams, his father searched online and found the PrEP Drug Assistance Program offered by the Community Research Initiative of New England (CRI).
CRI’s Manager of HIV Biomedical Intervention Programs, Kevin Herwig, recalls the conversation with Dan’s father as a pleasant change of pace. Most college students don’t want their parents finding out they are taking a medication designed to prevent transmission of a sexually transmitted virus. “It was great to speak with a father who not only supports his son taking this medication but understands its importance so deeply that he was willing to help his son find affordable access to it.”
Massachusetts is one of a small handful of states that helps people pay the high cost of PrEP when they are underinsured or facing high deductibles at the pharmacy counter. With support from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, CRI will pay the cost of PrEP for Massachusetts residents whose income is less than 500% of the federal poverty level.
Kevin connected the health services department at Dan’s college with CRI and Dan was able to afford filling his prescriptions. He and his father were immensely grateful for CRI’s help.