Medicaid recipients in Missouri with hepatitis C now have access to treatment.
The state of Missouri is reversing course and will allow anyone on Medicaid with hepatitis C to receive the medication that cures the disease.
The change in policy comes after a lawsuit was filed against the department that oversees the state’s Medicaid program, arguing that some Medicaid patients were denied medically necessary treatment.
The case, filed in federal court in Missouri’s western district last year, was dismissed Monday following the state’s decision to change its policy, effective Nov. 1.
“We are glad that Missouri health officials will start to ensure that Medicaid enrollees receive these medications in a timely manner. This therapy is not only medically necessary for the individual patient, but it is vital in helping to halt spread of a communicable disease,” Abigail Coursolle, an attorney with the National Health Law Program, said in a statement released Tuesday.
Coursolle, along with the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and the St. Louis University Legal Clinic, represented the three plaintiffs in the case, all unnamed Medicaid recipients with hepatitis C.
In an attempt to curb spending on the costly medication, a serious budget concern for many states, the department implemented the policy that allowed only the sickest of Medicaid recipients with hepatitis C to receive the new treatments.
Initially, the price of the treatment was $93,000 for a 12-week course of the medication, according to a statementfrom MoHealthnet, the state agency that oversees the Medicaid program.
It’s estimated that 13,000 Medicaid recipients in the state have hepatitis C, according to court documents.
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