Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient : Shots - Health News Two new drugs for hepatitis C can save lives. They are also wildly expensive, costing $66,000 to $84,000 per person. Insurers face paying billions for treatment, or explicitly rationing vital care.
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Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient

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Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient

Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's an update on a story we brought you on Monday. Reporter Richard Knox told us about a patient could not get the lifesaving drugs he needed to treat hepatitis C. That's because Medicare would not pay the $150,000 cost. After our report, Medicare officials told us they were looking into the case. And now the agency has shifted its policy. WellCare, which is a private insurer that contracts with Medicare, has told Walter Bianco that it will pay the cost after all.

In a statement to NPR News, Medicare officials indicate the new policy will apply broadly to hepatitis C patients whose doctors prescribe the use of two very expensive drugs known to cure hepatitis C. The coverage will cost a lot. A Medicare official told a Chamber of Commerce gathering last week that the agency hopes to know how much it may cost by the end of the year.

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