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How to Get Hepatitis C Treatment Without Private Insurance

Hepatitis C (hep C) can result in chronic illnesses like liver disease or cirrhosis. These long-term illnesses can be treated with medicines.

Hep C treatment options

The long-term illnesses are mainly treated with drugs meant to target viruses. These are called antiviral drugs, and examples include:1,2

Harvoni® (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir)
Solvaldi® (sofosbuvir)
Olysio™ (simeprevir)

These antiviral drugs are a type of medicine called biologics. Biologics are special because they are made from parts of living cells, such as proteins.

This makes the process of making these drugs complicated. It also makes them expensive, which makes getting treatment hard.1,2

One example is the cost of a 12-week treatment of Sovaldi, which cost $84,000 in 2021. Having health insurance can be a big help, but it is not the only way to afford treatment. There are other options, such as:2-4

  • Government aid – Programs that help people who meet certain requirements afford healthcare
  • Financial assistance programs – Groups such as hospitals or drug companies that help lower the costs of treatments
  • Research studies – An option where people participate in medical research and in exchange receive medical treatment

What is government aid?

The U.S. government offers health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA was designed to make sure people can access basic healthcare, regardless of income.

You can see what coverage you qualify for by visiting healthcare.gov. You can also contact an agent directly to help guide you through the process.5,6

Options other than the ACA are Medicare, Medicaid, federal disability, and veteran’s benefits. These benefits are given to people who meet certain requirements such as:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Certain health conditions
  • Veteran status

Medicare is a federal insurance program. It is open to people 65 years or older. It is also open to younger people with certain conditions.

Medicaid is an aid program provided by states that helps people based on income. Both of these programs are paid for by taxes.7,8

Federal disability benefits are offered through the Social Security Administration (SSA). These are open to people that have worked and paid taxes. To receive disability benefits, you must have certain health conditions. This condition must also prevent you from working for a time.9

Veterans benefits are offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits are for people who have served in the U.S. military. You can be considered for these benefits by applying through the agency.9,10

Financial assistance programs

Hospitals and clinics often have programs that help reduce the costs of treatments. These programs might receive funding from grants or donations.

There are also programs available from drug companies.

The HepatitisC.net community has more details about using financial assistance programs to pay for treatment. These programs often have requirements, such as income.11

There are also several non-profits that help people pay for their medicines, including:

  • American Liver Foundation
  • NeedyMeds
  • Patient Help Network
  • Good Days Patient Assistance Program
  • HealthWell Foundation
  • Patient Advocate Foundation
  • Patient Access Network (PAN)

Research studies

Gaining knowledge about complex diseases like hep C is a constant process. New research is always being done to better understand how the disease works.

There is also research to improve or discover new treatments and drugs. There are careful tests done to make treatments are safe and effective.

One of these tests is clinical trials, where the effects on humans are studied.12

Being a part of a research study might sound scary. However, there are guidelines in place to ensure ethical management. You have the right to be fully informed of the details of your role in a study.12

Being a part of these studies gives you the chance to receive the latest treatments. It also lets you help advance science and treatment options.

The National Institutes of Health has a database of medical research studies being conducted available at ClinicalTrials.gov.13,14

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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