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Everything You Need to Know About Health Insurance During a Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt communities around the globe, knowledge about access to care and health insurance has never been more valuable. We talked to Alan S. Klein, chief development officer for the HealthWell Foundation, about how people can use their insurance and other programs to receive the care they need during these times.

Alan S. Klein

Chief Development Officer, The HealthWell Foundation

What should readers know about hepatitis and health insurance? 

There are different options for people and households in different situations. Those who are fully insured have all their usual options available to them for treating their hepatitis disease. 

Those who are underinsured, with private sector policies, can apply for additional assistance above their insurance coverage through patient assistance programs run by their drug’s manufacturer. Any remaining balance can also be addressed by applying for funds via independent copayment assistance foundations. 

Those who are on Medicare or Medicaid can go directly to copayment assistance foundations for financial help with their remaining balance. Those who are uninsured can apply for assistance through the free drug programs run by drug manufacturers. 

Hundreds of thousands of Americans go through one of the above scenarios each and every year to treat their hepatitis.

How is COVID-19 impacting the U.S. healthcare system and medication access?

COVID-19 is affecting the U.S. healthcare system and medication access in many different ways. Firstly, it is diverting hospital resources to care for and isolate COVID-19 patients that could otherwise be used for treating other patients or other conditions. Secondly, due to necessary social distancing, it has become much harder, if it’s still even possible, to make in-person visits to patients’ primary care or specialty physicians. There may only be telemedicine options and not everyone has access to that technology. This may result in delayed diagnosis or delayed treatment of new conditions patients may experience. 

Thirdly, because of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, many in the general population may not be able to afford either their medication treatments, doctor visits, or insurance plan premiums.

What is one tip you can share for people trying to navigate the healthcare system today?

There are resources available to patients, even during a pandemic. Please investigate coupons, copayments, and free drug safety net programs offered by drug manufacturers. Additionally, look into independent copayment foundations that may be able to offer financial assistance related to their disease, their insurance premiums, or COVID-19 in general.

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