Because of decreased funding from the federal government, Resource Center Dallas is making cuts to its Insurance Assistance Program effective Aug. 1.
The program helps people with HIV who have lost their jobs but still have insurance to maintain that coverage and covers co-pays for HIV medications.
As of Aug. 1, assistance with co-pays will be discontinued. In its letter to affected clients, the organization sent information to help them maintain their medical regimen.
Eligibility for insurance premium coverage will also tighten. Clients will have to verify information quarterly. Gross rather than adjusted gross income will be used to qualify for the program.
Money was cut in the current fiscal year but how these cuts are affecting individual programs is just becoming apparent. In the current budget cutting climate, more cuts could come for the next fiscal year.
“Anybody providing social services is getting hit,” said Cece Cox, executive director and CEO of Resource Center Dallas. “The people who need help most will get hurt the most.”
She said that there are some alternatives for some clients. As they meet with case managers at the agency over the next month, clients will be guided into other programs when possible. Information about some alternatives was included in a letter sent to clients this week.
“But more people will be driven into the Parkland system,” Cox said.
Cox said that this cut puts more long-term stress on the public hospital system. Parkland’s ability to help people with HIV is also being affected by a state cut in funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. ADAP is a program that provides HIV medications to low-income persons without insurance coverage or other means to pay for it that is funded with state and federal money.
Cutting co-pay assistance puts even more pressure on that program when some people who had insurance to cover their medications now rely on ADAP to pay for their meds.
“This will have a real impact on real people,” she said.
Alternative and additional funding is being sought but Cox was not optimistic about a quick solution to fund this program. She was angry about the outcome.
“The health of some people will be compromised,” she said.
Here’s the full text of RCD’s letter to clients about the changes:
FEDERAL FUNDING DECREASE FORCES CHANGES TO
INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM—YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED
July 22, 2011
Dear Insurance Assistance Client,
Resource Center Dallas strives to provide the highest level of service with available funds. Unfortunately, the Insurance Assistance Program must make immediate, drastic changes. Federal funding for the program has decreased while needs have simultaneously increased. The changes are a direct result of the federal budget compromise for the current fiscal year. Therefore, we are forced to make significant adjustments, immediately.
Effective Monday 8/1/2011, assistance with HIV medication co-pay costs will be discontinued until further notice. It is never easy to make cuts to services which are vital to the health and quality of life of so many people. We know how important your medications are to your health, and hope that you will find a way to make the necessary arrangements to continue taking them. You will find enclosed information that may help you maintain your medical regimen.
In addition, all participants of the Insurance Assistance Program will now be required to verify their eligibility for program services quarterly. For cost containment, income eligibility for insurance assistance will now be based on gross income, rather than the adjusted gross income used previously. In addition, need for program services will be assessed in accordance with the “payer of last resort” standard as established by federal guidelines. Continued payment of ALL premiums must be re-assessed.
Please contact Craig Hess at 214-540-4436 or Nathan Jones at 214-540-4417 to schedule an appointment to meet this requirement. To complete your eligibility verification, please bring to your appointment:
1.) Photo Identification
2.) Proof of Residence – any of the following showing your name and current address
A. A valid Texas Drivers License or state (Texas) ID card.
B. Mortgage or lease agreement
C. Current utility bill
D. Mail showing a postmark within the last 30 days.
E. A letter of verification from a shelter or housing program.
3.) Proof of Income:
A. Current award letter – SSI, SSDI, VA, RSDI, LTD, others
B. Most recent W-2 Form or US tax return
C. Payroll check stubs verifying the last 30 days of income
D. Most recent bank statement showing direct deposit and source within last 12 months.
E. “No Income Verification” form, provided by RCD and signed by client within 30 days of intake.
F. Limited others – ask if needed.
Eligibility must be verified prior to 9/1/2011 to qualify for payment of October premiums. Please be aware that this funding change gives us no flexibility. Those who do not respond by 9/1/2011 will be dropped from the program.
HIV Client Services Manager