The HealthWell Foundation, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, reaffirms its commitment to supporting the Hepatitis C community during Hepatitis Awareness Month and for the long-term by offering financial assistance to eligible patients living with hepatitis C (also known as Hepatitis C Virus or HCV). In 2015, the Foundation launched a Hepatitis C Fund to provide copayment assistance of up to $30,000 over a 12-month period to eligible patients who have annual household incomes of up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level. Since launching the fund, the Foundation has awarded more than $120 million to over 19,000 patients.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the blood-borne hepatitis C virus (HCV). Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), for some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness. However, for more than 50% of people who become infected with the hepatitis C virus, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, even death. Many people might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease. The CDC recommends one-time hepatitis C testing of all adults (18 years and older) and all pregnant women during every pregnancy. Continued regular testing for people with risk factors is also recommended.
Suzanna Masartis, Executive Director for Community Liver Alliance (CLA), commented, “We are honored to work with the HealthWell Foundation to raise awareness about Hepatitis C and to be able to continue to offer this valuable resource to our community. The CLA applauds the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to ensure that those living with Hep C have access to lifesaving medical treatments that would otherwise be unattainable due to cost.”
“Since opening our Hepatitis C Fund in 2015, we have been proud to assist the Hep C community with medication copayment costs associated with treatment and are honored to provide a financial resource, especially during Hepatitis Awareness month,” commented HealthWell Foundation Chief Development Officer, Alan Klein. “While treatment options are available to those living with the virus, accessing treatments can often present a financial hurdle for many. We are proud that our dedicated donors and stakeholders recognize the challenges these patients face in obtaining critical, often lifesaving, medical treatments. Raising awareness of this devastating, potentially deadly virus, and assisting those infected is, and will continue to be, a priority for the Foundation.”