The latest in a series of articles and op-eds from the Boston Globe, “Hepatitis C patients often have to get sicker before insurance will pay for drugs,” delves further into the Massachusetts health insurance marketplace and the various insurance providers who have placed restrictions on access to the Hepatitis C cure, despite recommendations from national health organizations to provide the cure widely. The article, published on April 19, 2016, cited CHLPI’s findings on the state’s marketplace offerings from the 2016 Qualified Health Plan Assessment.
Excerpt from article:
“The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School analyzed plans sold on the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state agency for people who buy insurance on their own, most of whom have moderate to low incomes. The center found that in nearly half the plans, patients had to pay a higher percentage of the cost for hepatitis C drugs than for most other drugs. Some insurers require patients to pay half the cost.
People who are on Medicare can obtain the drugs if they purchase a Part D prescription-drug policy, but those policies typically require deductibles, copayments, and sometimes prior authorization — all of which can limit access.
For the majority of people infected with hepatitis C, the virus lingers in the liver for decades. About 5 to 20 percent of those infected eventually develop cirrhosis, and 1 to 5 percent die from liver cancer or cirrhosis. But these illnesses occur 30 years or more after infection.”