Publix to Now Give PrEP Insurance Coverage

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Publix. Photo by Alexf via Wikimedia Commons.

After being accused of denying PrEP coverage for employees, an LGBT Florida representative worked with Publix to ensure the supermarket chain will now cover the HIV prevention drug.

Rep. Carlos G. Smith (D-Orlando) — the state's first only openly LGBT Latinx representative — said he met with Publix’s government relations team in his office to discuss their reasons for not allowing coverage of PrEP, according to his tweet. On Tuesday, he announced Publix would make the change.

“Less than 24 hours after meeting w/me, @Publix has reversed course and is expanding their employee insurance coverage to include the HIV prevention pill, PrEP! Diplomacy LIVES! #Sayfie,” Smith tweeted.

The change comes after Publix allegedly denied coverage of the drug, according to an Emory University study. In their meeting with Smith, Publix representatives said they generally do not offer coverage for drugs that prevent conditions in the future except for birth control.

Publix also said in the meeting they also were waiting on a formal recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. According to Smith’s tweet, the recommendation is coming soon.

“We regularly evaluate what is covered by our health plan and have made the decision to expand our health plan’s coverage of Truvada to include Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP),” Publix’s official Twitter account said in a three-tweet chain. “We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible.”

According to Smith, the supermarket did not say if the non-coverage of the drug was because of cost or moral objections.


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