Archive for February 25th, 2011

Hepatitis C Patients Compare Health Insurance

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Americans living with Hepatitis C may not have access to the latest and best antiviral medications, according to Red Orbit.  In the article “Lack Of Health Insurance Limits Hepatitis C Patients’ Access To Latest Antiviral Therapy,” they say that people with Hepatitis C are two times more likely to be without health insurance than people without the viral disease.  Even those who are insured may not have coverage for the latest antiviral treatments.  Plans like Go Blue Florida which are affordable but offer limited benefits may not cover some of these costs, but if consumers do their research on health insurance they should be able to get coverage.  Once pre-existing conditions are no longer an issue in finding health insurance, even more patients suffering from Hepatitis C could get insurance coverage.

The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the top cause of chronic liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplants in the United States.  Eighty-five percent of people with HCV, a full 3.5 million people, develop chronic infections and the disease kills 12,000 people every year.  Patients who have successful antiviral treatments have a better quality of life and lower morbidity and mortality rates.  But when you compare health insurance, it costs close to $50,000 a year to monitor and treat HCV.  That is why many people suffering from the disease don’t have insurance or don’t have that specific coverage that they need.

Study information being published in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases journal Hepatology, found that 61% of those infected with HCV had insurance compared to 81% of those who did not have the disease.  About 67% of those suffering from HCV are eligible for antiviral treatment, but only about half of those eligible patients had insurance coverage.  The reason that some HCV patients aren’t eligible is because of contraindications to antiviral treatment.  Certain patients don’t get positive results with the treatments and may even get adverse reactions, such as patients who also suffer from cardiac disease, renal failure, or severe depression.  Those who qualify for treatment hopefully will have insurance to pay for that treatment.