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Publix backtracks and will include PrEP in staff healthcare coverage

News reports last month reported the grocery chain was not including PrEP in its healthcare coverage

Publix backtracks and will include PrEP in staff healthcare coverage
Publix employs around 190,000 in the US (Photo: Josh Hallett - CC BY SA 2.0)

Leading US grocery chain Publix appears to have backtracked on its decision to disallow access to PrEP as part of its staff healthcare package.

Publix has stores throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It employs over 190,000 staff at over 1,100 locations.

Last week, WBS-TV revealed it had spoken to several staff who said the company was declining to include PrEP as part of its healthcare package. The story was first reported by TheBody.com late January.

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The pharmaceutical used for PrEP is Truvada. Taken daily, it’s highly effective at stopping someone acquiring HIV.

The majority of people who take PrEP are gay and bisexual men. This led some to question whether Publix failing to include PrEP in its healthcare package was discriminatory.

Publix denied this, explaining at the time that its healthcare package for employees and their families focused on ‘medical necessity’.

‘Under this definition, coverage is provided for the identification, treatment or management of a medical condition,’ it said in a statement. ‘Coverage is not generally provided to diagnose a medical condition for which a member has no indications or to treat a medical condition that a member might get in the future.’

Publix announce change in policy

However, in Tweets sent out today, it appears that the company has had a re-think.

Twitter user Randy McDonald posted a tweet with a link to a Towleroad link about the story.

Publix took the opportunity to respond.

‘Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families.

‘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).

‘We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible.’

H/T: Towleroad

See also

Top US doctor on HIV undetectable sex: ‘From a practical standpoint, the risk is zero’


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