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How to Use Financial Assistance Programs to Pay for Treatment

Individuals with hepatitis C know all too well the financial burden of the condition. New treatment options, including direct-acting antiviral medications, have higher cure rates and fewer side effects than ever before. However, these treatments can be expensive. For many, the cost of hepatitis C medications can delay or prevent treatment. This is especially true for individuals without health insurance. There are some financial assistance programs available to help pay for medication.

The high cost of hepatitis C treatment

In order to get a better understanding of the use of financial assistance programs and the impact of treatment cost on the hepatitis C community, we conducted our 2018 Hepatitis C In America survey. Among individuals who have not been cured of the hep C virus, 47% said that worry about the cost of medication was a reason for not undergoing treatment. Additionally, 31% of these individuals reported that their insurance denying medication coverage was a reason they are not treating their hepatitis C. From these results, it’s clear that finances play a big role in treatment decision-making.

What are financial assistance programs?

Financial assistance can come from a variety of sources, including from pharmaceutical companies. The companies that make the most common hepatitis C medications often have programs designed to provide assistance. This assistance can come from reducing the cost of treatment or providing access to support staff. Support staff access may include having a dedicated nurse phone line for individuals to use when they have questions about their medications or insurance coverage.

Common pharmaceutical-sponsored financial assistance programs include the following:

Support Path: Harvoni, Epclusa, Sovaldi, Vosevi

Gilead Sciences Inc., the maker of Harvoni, Epclusa, Sovaldi, and Vosevi, has created a financial assistance program designed to help individuals with hepatitis C who are having trouble affording these drugs. The program, Support Path, provides assistance to qualifying individuals who have no insurance or are underinsured. Several of the services that are available within the Support Path program include:

  • Dedicated 24/7 nursing support service line to provide support and education
  • Dedicated case managers that help individuals navigate insurance issues
  • Co-pay coupons that can help individuals save on their co-pays (with many individuals paying no more than $5 per co-pay)
  • Coordination with other hepatitis C assistance programs such as the PAN (Patient Access Network) Foundation to help with out-of-pocket treatment costs
  • Free medications for qualifying individuals with no insurance or poor insurance coverage

The Support Path program, like any financial assistance program, has eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to join. If you think you may qualify for Support Path, call 1-855-7-MYPATH (1-855-769-7284) Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 8:00pm EST to find out more information. You can also visit www.MySupportPath.com.

The Merck Access Program: Zepatier

Merck, the manufacturer of Zepatier has its own assistance program for eligible individuals having trouble affording this hepatitis C medication. The program, The Merck Access Program, has similar benefits to Support Path for those who qualify, including:

  • Coordination with the Specialty Pharmacy Network (an organization that may be able to help with insurance coverage questions, filling and refilling prescriptions, and more)
  • Co-pay coupons that can help individuals save on their co-pays (with many individuals paying no more than $5 per co-pay)
  • Downloadable content on other assistance programs for even more support
  • Reduced or no-cost treatment to eligible individuals
  • Assistance with navigating insurance difficulties, coverage, and questions

If you are interested in finding out more about The Merck Access Program, visit www.merckaccessprogram-zepatier.com, or call 1-866-251-6013, Monday through Friday between 8:00am to 8:00pm EST.

Mavyret Patient Support

A financial support program for the medication Mavyret, manufactured by AbbVie, is also available. Similar to the other previously listed programs, this resource has a co-pay assistance program that allows for many individuals on Mavyret to pay no more than five dollars each month out of pocket. Additionally, the Mavyret support program also provides a Nurse Ambassador to individuals taking the medication. This Nurse Ambassador can help navigate all aspects of treatment, insurance issues, and other potential outlets for financial support. To find out if you qualify for support from AbbVie for Mavyret, visit www.mavyret.com/complete-patient-support, or call 1-877-628-9738.

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