California Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Bill Requiring Insurers To Pay for HIV Testing
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Tuesday signed a bill (AB 1894) into law that requires health care plans operating in the state to pay for routine HIV testing, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rau/McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 10/1).
According to the California Office of AIDS, about 40,000 Californians are HIV-positive but are not aware of their status. CDC figures show that about 40% of the U.S. population has ever received an HIV test (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/18).
In a statement, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which sponsored the bill by Assembly member Paul Krekorian (D), praised Schwarzenegger for signing the measure. AHF President Michael Weinstein said, "Nearly 40,000 Californians do not know they are HIV-positive, and they are unwittingly causing between 2,500 and 5,000 new infections in California each year."
According to AHF, "opt-out" HIV testing as part of routine care in all health care settings for people between ages 13 and 65 was recommended by CDC in 2006; however, the recommendation has not been implemented widely in California or throughout the rest of the country largely because of issues over who should pay for the tests. AHF said the bill will help California implement the guidelines (AHF release, 9/30).