Growing demand for expensive new drugs to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV) could increase federal spending in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program by nearly $3 billion next year, according to a new report from the actuarial firm Millman and released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA).

Industry experts project that Part D Premiums could go up from $2.9 billion to $5.8 billion, or 8.9 percent, by next year. The report shows that most of the spending will come from insurance subsidies paid by consumers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or health reform law).

Millman’s cost projections were based on the modest assumption that between 15 and 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries currently living with hep C will get treated with Sovaldi and/or Olysio by next year. These cures come at a cost of nearly $84,000 per patient for a standard course of drugs.

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