One of the most important things the Affordable Care Act was supposed to do was put an end to a practice called pre-existing condition exclusion. Before the law passed, health insurers could refuse to cover any medical services for a health condition a person already had when they joined that insurance plan, or they could prevent the person from joining the plan entirely. So, for example, if you had psoriasis, the company might say that you could be on their plan, but you'd have to pay for all your psoriasis medications out-of-pocket.
For many people with big, expensive health problems, like asthma or diabetes, this part of the law greatly brought down the cost of their treatment. However, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that some insurers are still finding ways to keep sick people off their plans, particularly when it comes to people with HIV.
For the study, Doug Jacobs and Benjamin D. Sommers of Harvard analyzed the co-pays for HIV drugs within 48 "Silver" (mid-range cost) health-insurance exchange plans in 12 states. The drugs they examined were nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, or NRTIs, which are one of the most commonly prescribed HIV medications.