Thursday, August 11, 2016

What Medicaid’s Hepatitis C Crisis Means for Medicare Part D

What Medicaid’s Hepatitis C Crisis Means for Medicare Part D
Melissa Fausz | August 11, 2016

Three million Americans suffer from Hepatitis C. The liver disease killed nearly 20,000 Americans in 2014 – officially claiming more American lives than any other infectious disease. One may wonder why this condition destroys so many lives, given that Hepatitis C is a curable illness.

Part of the answer comes down to the type of health care many Hepatitis C sufferers receive. Of the 3 million Americans affected by this disease, a full third of them are Medicaid eligible. Medicaid recipients frequently face major difficulties in accessing primary care and health care screenings, which are essential to detecting Hepatitis C (it can often be asymptomatic) and treating the patient before major liver damage has been done.

The other key obstacle facing Medicaid recipients currently struggling with Hepatitis C is access to effective treatment once a diagnosis has been received. Recently, the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), an association which represents state directors of Medicaid programs across the country, called on Congress to address the strain that the cost of Hepatitis C treatment is placing on the nation’s largest health insurer.

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