Letter: Yale’s can surely grant better health care

Re: “A failing health plan,” Feb. 24. As another HIV-positive Yalie, albeit an undergraduate, I can attest to the burden of Yale Health Plan’s Prescription Plus package on those of us at the University with chronic illnesses.

To come back to school after many years to resume my education, I had to give up my job and will be living off savings for the next couple of years. Yale was generous enough to assume all of my tuition costs through financial aid. But the single biggest expense associated with coming to Yale was the $5,600 check I had to write to Yale Health Plan to cover my own health insurance and that of my partner who is also HIV-positive.

Since YHP’s Prescription Plus only covers 80 percent of drug costs, I had to go onto the Connecticut AIDS Drug Assistance Program (CADAP) in order to be able to afford my medications. My partner wasn’t so lucky. Since he still works, he isn’t eligible for CADAP, and thus pays about $500 a month — $6,000 a year — for his own AIDS drugs.

In the past, we’ve relied on health insurance from my employers to cover both of our health costs, since my partner is a freelance writer and editor. My last place of employment, a small non-profit in South Africa, made health care a priority for those who worked there and their families.

If a small NGO in a developing country can afford to cover all the costs of health insurance for its staff and their families, one would think that a major American university, with an endowment in the billions of dollars (even in a downturn) might be able to do so as well.

Gregg Gonsalves

Feb. 25

The writer is a freshman in Ezra Stiles College.

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