U.S.: Denying Medicaid Patients Access to Hep C Treatments is Wrong and Illegal

Elizabeth G. Taylor Executive Director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Imagine you are diagnosed with cancer. Your doctor tells you that your cancer is completely curable. But unfortunately, the cure is very expensive. It is so expensive that your insurance won’t pay for the cure until your cancer has advanced to stage three. You will have to suffer for months — possibly even years — before you have a chance at a cure. You may experience

Florida changes hep C drug policy for Medicaid after lawsuit

Florida health officials are changing the state's policy for administering costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and will now require insurance companies to provide the drug at an earlier stage in the disease. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Florida health officials are changing the state's policy for administering costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and will now require insurance companies to provide the drug at an earlier stage in the di

Washington state told to lift restrictions on hepatitis C medicines

The Washington state Medicaid program has been ordered to lift restrictions on coverage of pricey hepatitis C treatments, according to a preliminary injunction issued Friday by a federal judge in Seattle. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by state residents who claim the drugs are “medically necessary,” and that the decision by the Washington State Health Care Authority to provide coverage to only the sickest patients had caused them harm. I

What price a miracle? Limited access to hepatitis-C drug sparks debate

WASHINGTON – Jose Robles is the picture of health. And because of that, he has to remain sick, even though new drugs would likely cure him of the disease he’s had since birth. Robles, born with hepatitis C, is currently asymptomatic, but when he tried to enlist in the Marines, they turned him down because his ailment made him a “liability.” Determined to make good on a promise to his honorably discharged brother, Robles spoke with his doctor who quickly...

U.S.: New York Medicaid to cover hepatitis C treatment

State Medicaid to implement change within 30 days An influential prescription-drug review board voted Wednesday to have the state's Medicaid program cover all drugs for hepatitis C before patients are in advanced stages of illness. The state Department of Health plans to implement the change within 30 days. It will let Medicaid recipients in fee-for-service plans receive the same coverage that most private health insurers in New York now allow, followi

U.S.: Michigan Medicaid now approving coverage of popular Hepatitis-C drug

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Michigan Medicaid is now starting to approve coverage of a popular but expensive Hepatitis-C drug.This comes just one month after Newschannel 3 learned that many in Michigan suffering from Hepatitis-C, were being denied Harvoni through the state's Medicaid program, due to the high price.The drug costs about $94,500 for the complete treatment, mostly curing Hepatitis-C."It's been a closed door, it's been frustrating for me and my physician...

Hepatitis C patient: ‘…Price gouging was a crime, or isn’t it?’

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Drugs that are almost 100 percent effective in curing Hepatitis C are so expensive, many patients are unable to get them. Some private health insurance companies refuse to cover the drugs, and Medicaid has resisted paying for them. Officials contend that to provide the drugs to all patients that need them could bankrupt the health care system.The cost for treatments begin at just under $100,000, but they can go as high as twice

U.S.: More bad news for hep C drug pricing

The majority of state Medicaid programs cannot afford hepatitis C medications, such as Harvoni and Sovaldi (Gilead Sciences), which can cost nearly $100,000 for a single course of treatment.Thirty-three states spent more than $1 billion a year to treat the disease with Sovaldi, according to data released by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). That meant that only treat 2.4% of Medicaid patients who were infected with the hep C virus

Are States Obligated to Provide Expensive Hepatitis C Drugs?

A handful of federal lawsuits against states that have denied highly effective but costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and prisoners could cost states hundreds of millions of dollars.The drugs boast cure rates of 95 percent or better, compared to 40 percent for previous treatments. But they cost between $83,000 and $95,000 for a single course of treatment.The class actions, all filed in the last eight months in federal courts in Indiana, Massachu