hep c info graphicIntroduction

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that primarily affects the liver and is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is a significant public health concern, with 2.7 to 3.9 million people in the United States, including a substantial number worldwide that are affected by this condition. HCV is primarily transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person. Common modes of transmission include sharing contaminated needles or other drug paraphernalia, receiving infected blood or blood products, or through unprotected sexual contact with an infected individual. In rare cases, it can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her child during childbirth. Besides the health implications, hepatitis C can also impose a financial burden on individuals. In this article, we will explore the typical costs associated with hepatitis C treatment and its impact on individuals in the United States.

The Cost of Hepatitis C Treatment

Historically, hepatitis C was challenging to treat, with limited efficacy and significant side effects. However, advancements in medical research have led to the development of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medications, which have revolutionized hepatitis C treatment. These medications offer high cure rates (95% or greater1) and minimal side effects, providing hope for those affected by the disease.

The cost of hepatitis C treatment has been a topic of concern, especially in the United States, where healthcare costs are notoriously high. Initially, the introduction of DAA medications came with exorbitant price tags, leading to limited access and affordability issues. However, over time, as more manufacturers entered the market and competition increased, the costs have significantly decreased.

In the United States, the current average cost for a course of hepatitis C treatment with DAAs can range from $26,400 to $84,000, depending on the specific medication, treatment duration, and other factors. These prices may seem staggering, but it is important to note that they represent a significant reduction from the previous costs.

Insurance Coverage and Assistance Programs

Many individuals suffering from hepatitis C in the United States rely on insurance coverage to manage the costs of treatment. Most private insurance plans and Medicare provide coverage for hepatitis C medications, ensuring that individuals have access to potentially life-saving treatment options.

Medicaid, a government-funded healthcare program for low-income individuals, also covers hepatitis C treatment. In fact, Medicaid has been instrumental in expanding access to treatment for vulnerable populations who may not have otherwise been able to afford it.

Additionally, it is important for individuals considering hepatitis C treatment to understand their insurance coverage, explore available financial assistance programs, and discuss potential financial concerns with healthcare providers. Social workers, financial counselors, and patient advocacy organizations may also provide guidance and support in navigating the financial aspects of treatment.

The Economic Impact on Individuals

While the costs of hepatitis C treatment are substantial, it is crucial to consider the long-term economic impact of the disease if left untreated. Hepatitis C can lead to severe liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even liver failure, necessitating a liver transplant. The economic burden associated with these complications far outweighs the costs of early treatment and management.

For individuals suffering from hepatitis C, the disease can also impact their ability to work. Fatigue, reduced productivity, and the need for medical appointments and treatment can disrupt employment and income. Consequently, this can place additional financial strain on individuals and their families.

Due to the cost of treatment, patient assistance programs and copay assistance programs are available for many Hepatitis C treatments. Patient assistance programs vary in status throughout the year. They may be open or closed depending on the manufacturer and funds available. Full-pay may be available in these programs.

To qualify for full-pay patient assistance certain requirements must be met. These requirements vary but may include income limits and insurance coverage status.

Copay assistance is also available and these programs are designed to cover the patient’s out of pocket costs. Again, eligibility varies by program, but it is not uncommon for those who qualify to receive more than $15,000 in benefits from the copay assistance program.

Sustain Meds offers its customers an easy approach to assistance programs. For those who do not want to learn the ins and outs of copay assistance, patient assistance, prior authorizations, appeals, and tier exceptions this is a hands off approach. Simply contact a team member today to start the process. The team member will handle all documentation and paperwork while keeping you up to date along the way. If an assistance program is not currently open, the team can put you on a waiting list and notify you of status changes. 


Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects millions of people worldwide, including a significant number in the United States. While the costs of hepatitis C treatment can be high, advancements in medical research have led to the development of highly effective medications with fewer side effects. Insurance coverage, including private plans, Medicare, and Medicaid, along with patient assistance programs, have made treatment more accessible and affordable for individuals in need.

The economic impact of hepatitis C, if left untreated, can be severe, often outweighing the costs of early intervention. The disease can lead to serious complications, impacting an individual’s ability to work and resulting in long-term financial consequences.

As awareness continues to grow and new treatments become available, it is essential for healthcare systems, policymakers, and pharmaceutical companies to work together to ensure that the best treatment outcomes do not price patients out.

About Sustain Meds:

Sustain Meds offers individuals undergoing expensive care plans a hands off service to achieve the lowest out of pocket costs possible on their prescription drugs. Our case team can quickly identify patient assistance programs, copay assistance programs, and premium reimbursement opportunities, as well as tier reductions, prior authorization cases and appeals to get costs down quickly while avoiding denials for administrative errors. There is no cost to Sustain meds’ services if savings are not achieved.

Additional Resources

CDC Hepatitis Overview:


American Liver Foundation – Hepatitis C Information Center:



  1. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7132e1.htm?s_cid=mm7132e1_
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/media/inforgraphics.htm