Did you know that hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, affects millions of people worldwide, resulting in acute and chronic liver disease and killing 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.
Medicare can help keep you protected from some of the common strains of hepatitis: Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
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).
There’s a third type of Hepatitis—Hepatitis C. 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. Find out how you can prevent and treat hepatitis by visiting the World Health Organization’s World Hepatitis Day web page.