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Kaiser Reverses Plan To Raise Cost Of HIV Medications After Public Pressure

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – One of the Bay Area's biggest health insurance companies is doing an about-face.

On late Friday afternoon, Kaiser Permanente said it will resume covering more of the cost of certain HIV medications, following public pressure.

The move won't help many who still face new prescription cost-sharing policies - for virtually every insurance plan in California. Most insurers began changing their price structure for prescription drugs last year, moving many into a new category called "specialty drugs."

Customers who are prescribed drugs that are under the new category have to pay a percentage of the total cost, instead of a flat copay.

Kaiser was actually the last to make the move this January. The company has been getting a lot of attention for it, because it increased the price of some HIV drugs from a $50 copay, to nearly $1,000 a month.

Assemblyman David Chiu will officially introduce a bill on Monday that would for the first time, require drug companies to disclose the actual cost of these specialty drugs.

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