In an unexpected but welcomed move, Publix reverses course; covers PrEP. Less than 24 hours after Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith met with Publix officials regarding their controversial decision to not cover PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) in their insurance, Publix is reversing course and will expand coverage to include PrEP. Publix made the announcement by responding to comments on several of its social media platforms. On Twitter they responded to Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith’s tweets and on Facebook they responded to Sam Graper’s questions. Sam Graper, Orlando Immunology Center’s Community Relations Manager reached out to Publix and they followed up with the comments below including conformation of the reversal.
Publix’s Statement to Sam Graper Reversing Course to Cover PrEP
The controversy began a week ago when an Atlanta doctor reported that a patient was denied PrEP. PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) is a HIV prevention regimen that has been proven to be up to 99% effective at reducing HIV transmission with daily adherence and is recommended by the CDC. After further investigation by the doctor, it was confirmed that the denial was not coming from the insurance company but directly from the employer, Publix. Publix stated that
“In cases where Truvada is being used prophylactically, the plan’s definition of medical necessity was not met.”
Publix’s PrEP denial was controversial because PrEP is recommended by the CDC and Publix covers other preventative treatments recommended by the CDC. The story spread via social media quickly with several national news sources covering the story. The public outcry was enormous and swift putting pressure on Publix to cover PrEP. Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith met with Publix officials to educate and explain the importance of covering CDC recommended prevention options like PrEP but Publix stood by its decision to deny PrEP. Rep Smith posted the outcome of the meeting and it was rapidly shared on social media, putting more pressure on Publix to change its postion. Less than 24 hours after that meeting, Publix reversed course and will expand insurance coverage to include PrEP. Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith stated “Diplomacy LIVES!”
Social media was also quick to respond praising Publix for listening to the community and responding promptly. Equality Florida stated
“Thanks to Publix for responding to the voices from the community and making this critical change in policy.”
Community Relations Manager, Orlando Immunology Center