United HealthCare has agreed to expand its coverage of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment in an effort to settle a $300 million class action lawsuit brought against the insurance company by its policyholders, Daily Business Review reports.
The settlement agreement, filed in a Miami federal court earlier this month, resolves claims that America’s largest health insurer wrongfully denied its beneficiaries access to Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), a hepatitis C treatment made by Gilead Sciences that can cure 95 to 99 percent of cases. Prior to the lawsuit, the company would cover the cost of the drug only for patients with severe liver fibrosis.
United HealthCare has since removed any restrictions on receiving hepatitis C medications based on fibrosis score, as well as a past requirement that policyholders prove that they abstained from drug and alcohol use for six months prior to starting treatment. As part of the settlement, the insurance company has also agreed to create a $500,000 fund to help former policyholders buy new health insurance from United or another insurer.
The settlement, which applies to approximately 5,000 class members, is being reviewed by a U.S. district judge. If approved, the award could amount to more than $300 million dollars.