Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

United Healthcare Sued Over HIV/AIDS Mail Order Drug Service

Claiming the new policy is illegal, the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog is suing United Healthcare over its new policy requiring HIV/AIDS patients to use a mail-order pharmacy.

— A California consumer group is suing the nation's largest health insurer for discrimination against HIV / AIDS patients. The class-action suit alleges United Healthcare is breaking the law by requiring patients to get all of their medications by mail order.

Under the new policy, United Healthcare won't cover HIV/AIDS drugs from local pharmacies. Patients will be required to use United's in-house mail order service instead.

Jerry Flanagan with Consumer Watchdog, the nonprofit group that's suing the insurer, said HIV patients depend on local pharmacists to keep an eye on side effects and adverse drug reactions.

United Healthcare maintains patients will have 'round-the-clock access to specially trained pharmacists.

Even so, Flanagan argued the new program is misguided.

"So what United has done is treated its most vulnerable patients in a way that undermines their health in an unreasonable way and is treating those people differently than they treat other enrollees," Flanagan said.

Flanagan added treating people differently based on their health condition is illegal in California.

Earlier this year, Consumer Watchdog sued Anthem Blue Cross for its policy mandating mail-order pharmacy service for HIV/AIDS patients.

To settle the case, Anthem agreed to allow patients to opt out of the service with no penalty.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.