Hepatitis – “inflammation of the liver” – is often caused by viruses which affect millions of people worldwide and kill close to 1.4 million people every year.
Hepatitis is contagious. For example, the Hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. People can also get infected by coming in contact with a contaminated object, where the virus can live for up to 7 days. Hepatitis B can range from being a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long-term illness (chronic) that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.
Fortunately, Medicare can help keep you protected from the most common types of viral hepatitis strains—Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Generally, Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) covers Hepatitis A shots when medically necessary.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers Hepatitis B shots, which usually are given as a series of 3 shots over a 6-month period (you need all 3 shots for complete protection).
Medicare covers a one-time Hepatitis C screening test if your primary care doctor or practitioner orders it and you meet one of these conditions:
- You’re at high risk because you have a current or past history of illicit injection drug use
- You had a blood transfusion before 1992, or
- You were born between 1945 and 1965
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. Worldwide 400 million people are living with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. Find out how you can prevent hepatitis and save 4,000 lives a day by visiting the World Health Alliance’s World Hepatitis Day web page.