22 Apr

Press Release: Michigan Improves Access to Hepatitis C Treatment for Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan Patients

State of HEPC News

The Wolverine state removed prior authorization requirements for a preferred hepatitis C medication, increasing access to hepatitis C treatment for more Michiganders.

Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2021) – The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI) and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) today applauded Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for removing prior authorizations for a preferred hepatitis C medication. Michigan joins just six other states that do not require prior authorization for hepatitis C treatment, including California, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Up to 200,000 Michiganders are estimated to be living with hepatitis C, and lifting these restrictions will help increase access to the hepatitis C cure for thousands.

“Michigan has been a leader in removing barriers to hepatitis C treatment for several years, and this next step of removing prior authorizations for preferred treatment will go a long way toward further improving access to hepatitis C care for Michiganders,” said Phil Waters, Staff Attorney at CHLPI. “We encourage all payors and providers to immediately implement policies that eliminate prior authorization and other forms of unduely burdernsome utilization management to help improve individual and public health outcomes, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

In an effort to eliminate hepatitis C as a health threat to Michiganders, the state recently launched the new “We Treat Hep C” initiative and a state plan on eliminating hepatitis C. The initiative will help raise awareness among at-risk populations for hepatitis C, encourage testing and screening for hepatitis C, and reduce barriers to curative hepatitis C treatment.

“It is encouraging to see states like Michigan develop hepatitis C elimination plans, and as a part of that, improve hepatitis C testing and treatment options. Removing prior authorizations for preferred treatment eliminates one uneccessary hurdle for getting patients the care they need,” said Adrienne Simmons, Director of Programs at NVHR. “With treatments now available that cure hepatitis C, it is unacceptable that patients continue to live with or die from hepatitis C and we look forward to seeing the progress Michigan makes to eliminate the virus.”

The removal of prior authorization for preferred treatment and previous barriers to hepatitis C treatment has improved Michigan’s score on the Hepatitis C: State of Medicaid Access to an A+, joining only a few other states with the top score. This designation is a step forward in the fight to improving patient access to hepatitis C treatment and towards eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat.

For more information about hepatitis C treatment access barriers, please visit www.stateofhepc.org.

As of February 2024, 28 states have removed prior authorization for first-time treatment: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, HI, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MI, MO, NC, NH, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, TX, VA, WA, WI.