New hepatitis C treatments are so effective and well tolerated that there is little reason not to treat everyone—except for the high price of the drugs. Cost concerns have led many private insurers and public payers to impose restrictions on treatment, such as treating only people with advanced liver disease or not treating people who inject drugs.
Medicaid programs vary from state to state, as do private insurers. Some recognize the benefits of hepatitis C treatment—including cost savings in the future—but others are more restrictive. In some states people with HIV can get hepatitis C treatment through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
For people who are uninsured or have unaffordable copays or deductibles, pharmaceutical company patient assistance programs may provide medications for free or at reduced cost. The Fair Pricing Coalition has negotiated copay programs with almost every major hepatitis drug manufacturer. Patient advocacy organizations can also help you access treatment at a price you can afford.
If you are told you are ineligible for treatment, don’t give up. Many people have had their hepatitis C meds covered by Medicaid or private insurance after they or their doctor filed an appeal to reverse an initial refusal.
Visit hepmag.com/paying-for-treatment for more info.