February 26, 2014 | by Staff reports
Louisiana gets health care extension
pills, medicine, Ryan White, health care, gay news, Washington Blade, Louisiana

Three insurance companies doing business with Louisiana will allow people to use money from the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS program to pay for their health care plans at least through April 1. (Photo by Pöllö; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

NEW ORLEANS — People living with HIV and AIDS in Louisiana will be able to use a federal grant to help them pay for their health care coverage, at least for four more weeks, the Times-Picayune reports.

Three insurance companies doing business in the state said they won’t block the use of grant money to cover health care premiums on March 1, as one had previously announced. All three will allow people to use money from the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS program to pay for their health care plans at least through April 1, an extra month, the article said.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Louisiana Health Cooperative and Vantage Health Plan faced pressure from U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson, who issued a temporary restraining order on Feb. 24 barring the three companies from dropping those from coverage who were using the grant to cover insurance costs. Lambda Legal, an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit for John East, a Louisiana resident who uses Ryan White money to cover his insurance plan with Blue Cross.

Jackson lifted the restraint the next day after lawyers from the insurance companies promised they wouldn’t change or drop anyone’s policies during the next two weeks. The judge will hear arguments on whether the insurance companies should be forced to accept payments made with Ryan White federal funds March 10, the Times-Picayune reports.

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