Cost- Effectiveness of Total State Coverage for Hepatitis C Medications

Objectives: Most Medicaid beneficiaries with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are not treated with direct-acting agents because of budget constraints, but they experience costly complications after becoming Medicare eligible. Maryland’s “total coverage” proposal could receive a credit from Medicare to offset Medicaid investments in treatments that could lead to Medicare savings. This study analyzes the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of total coverage for HCV treatments sponsored by state Medicare and Medicaid.

Study Design: A Markov model simulated patients going through the care continuum of HCV. The model simulated 3 pathways: standard coverage with a 50% probability of screening for HCV and 20% probability of treatment; risk-stratified total coverage with assumed 80% probability of screening and 60% treatment rate; and total coverage with assumed 80% probability of screening and 100% treatment rate.

Methods: The model calculated US$ and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) to produce an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio evaluated at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000/QALY. The budget impact for the state of Maryland was calculated in terms of per member per year.

Results: Total coverage and risk-stratified coverage saved $158 per patient and $178 per patient, respectively, compared with standard care at an increased effectiveness of 0.05 and 0.02 QALYs over 25 years. Total coverage and risk-stratified total coverage would save $1.0 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, after 25 years.

Conclusions: Medicare-Medicaid partnerships to pay for all HCV treatments today represent good value and a low budget impact. States with trouble covering HCV treatments should consider using this model to plan coverage decisions.

A press release about the study is available here. The full study is available in AJMC here.