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Medicare will cover all anti-HIV drugs

Medicare will cover all anti-HIV drugs

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that all state-run Medicare prescription drug plans will cover "all or substantially all" HIV-related medications, CQ HealthBeat reports. All HIV antiretroviral drugs are covered through the prescription drug plans, but states are allowed to require doctors to receive plan approval before prescribing the fusion inhibitor Fuzeon to HIV patients, which costs about $20,000 per year. Virtually all other HIV-related drugs, including those to treat side effects of antiretroviral therapy and to prevent the onset of AIDS-related opportunistic infections, also are covered in the Medicare prescription drug plans. Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in the prescription drug plans beginning on November 1, with coverage beginning January 1, 2006. The average beneficiary will pay a $250 annual deductible and $35 in monthly premiums. Medicare will then cover 75% of the first $2,000 in annual drug expenses, will cover none of the costs between $2,000 and $5,100 in drug expenses, and then resumes again to cover 95% of drug costs beyond the $5,100 mark. A typical antiretroviral drug cocktail costs more than $10,000 per year.

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