Rhode Island’s health insurance program for the poor is expanding treatment for people living with hepatitis C.
The state Executive Office of Human Services announced Thursday it will cover treatment for all Medicaid patients with the potentially deadly bloodborne virus affecting the liver. Previously, the state limited treatment for Medicaid patients to only those in advanced stages of the disease, citing the high cost of the medication. The change followed discussions with lawyers representing a Medicaid patient denied coverage.
The new policy brings Rhode Island in line with federal medical necessity requirements for Medicaid, according to a statement released by the EOHHS.
Roughly 250 people with advanced hepatitis C received treatment covered by Medicaid during each of the last three years, according to Ashley G. O’Shea, a spokeswoman for the Office of Health and Human Services. The number of additional Medicaid recipients who will be eligible for such coverage under the new rules was not immediately available.