The ACA and People with HIV: Video Profiles from the Field

This video series features people with HIV sharing their experiences with health coverage in the era of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including those living in the “coverage gap” as well as those who have gained insurance coverage. The videos also discuss the role the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program continues to play in the lives of people with HIV.

Maria | Valentine | Shandora

Maria | Atlanta, Ga., & Chattanooga, Tenn.

“I’ve never had medical insurance before signing up under the marketplace insurance… When I was uninsured, I was getting my HIV needs met through Ryan White.”

Maria has been HIV positive for 18 years and has recently moved from Atlanta, Ga., to Chattanooga, Tenn. Before she enrolled in a health plan through the ACA marketplace, she did not have health insurance, and relied on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to meet her HIV health needs. The Ryan White Program now plays a different role in her life, helping with the cost of her insurance premiums which enables her to stay engaged in coverage. Maria is currently in school working towards graduate degree in social work, and her goal is to be a mental health practitioner.

Valentine | Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I’m very happy with the plan that I have now because it covers my doctor, it covers my medications — but I’m paying an extreme amount of money… Because of that I had to cut back on so many things.”

Valentine lives with her partner and three children, in New York City and was diagnosed with HIV about five years ago. She lost her employer sponsored health insurance when her hours were cut to part-time. She initially enrolled in an ACA marketplace health plan that did not cover care for her rheumatoid arthritis, and incurred debt paying for that treatment out-of-pocket. During the second open-enrollment period she found a plan that better addresses her health needs but still found the costs difficult to meet. She recently applied and was approved for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and looks forward to receiving assistance with the costs associated with her coverage.

Shandora | Atlanta, Ga.

“Ryan White to me is like life at this point. But then on the other hand, health insurance to me would be like another part of my life…”

Shandora has been HIV positive for 26 years, and has received consistent HIV care from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program since 2009. She lives in Atlanta, Ga., with her teenage son. Shandora is uninsured: Her employer does not offer health insurance coverage and Shandora is in the “coverage gap,” meaning she does not qualify for Medicaid in her state or for premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. While her HIV care needs are met through the Ryan White Program, Shandora has other health needs that go unmet without access to insurance.


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