4 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Health with Hep C
Last updated: September 2021
If you’re like a lot of folks, until your diagnosis, you may not have given a second thought about healthcare and the how the “system” works. Here are a few pointers to help you out:
Tons of research points to having a general healthcare provider as essential to your health overall.1 You tend have less complications and get treatment sooner. This is even more true when you have a diagnosis, like hepatitis C. Your provider is the gateway to screening, treatment options, specialist referrals, and social resources.
Your Takeaway: Stay connected to your provider. Keep up on your routine medical and specialist appointments - both during treatment, as well as after, to ensure your health is staying on track.
Where are you in your treatment journey?
Lab work and other testing
Providers base many of their care decisions on lab work or other testing. Other testing may include biopsies (where a small piece of your liver is removed for testing) or imaging (common ones with hep C are MREs or TEs). Medication changes, referrals to specialists, or a shorter or longer appointment timeline is all driven by how your body is responding to treatment. So, during your hepatitis C treatment, it’s very important you keep up on any recommended labs or imaging. Even after treatment, routine monitoring is still important to make sure your liver condition is not changing (a very small number of people have relapse).
Your Takeaway: Know your lab results and the results of any imaging or other testing. Ask how they compare to your past lab work or test results. After treatment, ask what follow-up testing is needed and how often.
I’m a BIG believer in asking questions. Doing this helps you better understand how and when decisions are made as well as get you and your medical team on the same page. The only stupid question is the one not asked when it comes to your health. And while it can be uncomfortable at first, you’ll soon be a pro at it!
Your Takeaway: The best times to ask questions include: 1) If something isn’t logical. 2) You don’t understand what’s going on. 3) You’re concerned or worried. 4) ANY time is a great time to ask a question!
Jumping insurance hoops
Ugh, insurance. You’re glad to have it, but, my oh my, is it a tangled web sometimes! Because Hep C treatment is so expensive, you may find insurance denying treatment or testing - or requiring a “prior auth.” Don’t give up! Often, insurance wants more documentation or test results from your medical team to approve treatment and/or other testing. If you’re on private insurance, copay cards can often lower medication costs. If you’re using Medicare, you may qualify for a prescription assistance program through the drug manufacturer. Both of these options are found through the drug-maker’s websites
Your Takeaway: Insurance can be tough to navigate. Ask your insurance for the reason behind any denials. Ask your medical team to appeal and/or send in additional supporting documentation. Use copay cards and/or prescription assistance programs whenever possible.
What tips would you share with the community about staying on top of your health with hep C?