ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Several insurers have agreed to cover expensive hepatitis C treatments before patients show advanced symptoms like liver scarring, New York’s attorney general said Tuesday.
The seven insurers include Affinity Health Plan, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Excellus Health Plan, HealthNow, Independent Health, United Healthcare/Oxford, and MVP Health Plan.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 11/28 Sunday Morning Forecast
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says now nearly all commercial health insurance plans in the state also won’t deny coverage for those who use alcohol or drugs or whose authorizing physician isn’t a specialist.
Chronic infections can cause liver failure, liver cancer, brain damage, kidney failure, cirrhosis and death.
An estimated 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C, with about 25,000 more infected annually.READ MORE: Alec Burks, Evan Fournier Spark Knicks Past Hawks
The New York Health Plan Association says the state should focus on lowering costs for “exorbitantly expensive” new treatment drugs.
The drug at the center of the debate has been called a “miracle drug,” CBS News reported earlier this year. The issue is that it’s so expensive that the majority of people, including thousands of veterans, couldn’t previously afford to cover the costs.
The drug, sold as Harvoni or Solvaldi, can cost up to $84,000 for one treatment cycle.MORE NEWS: Suns Extend Win Streak To 16 With Victory Over Nets
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