New York's attorney general says seven insurers have agreed to cover expensive hepatitis C treatments before patients show advanced symptoms of the disease like liver scarring.
The seven are:
- Affinity Health Plan
- Empire BlueCross BlueShield
- Excellus Health Plan
- Independent Health
- United Healthcare/Oxford
- MVP Health Plan.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) says now nearly all commercial health insurance plans in the state also won't deny coverage for those who use alcohol or drugs or whose authorizing physician isn't a specialist.
Chronic infections can cause liver failure, liver cancer, brain damage, kidney failure, cirrhosis and death.
An estimated 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C, with about 25,000 more infected annually.
The New York Health Plan Association says the state should focus on lowering costs for "exorbitantly expensive" new treatment drugs.