Cost Implications and Medical Assistance for Patients of NAFLD

A blog post by Jackie

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The United States healthcare system spends an estimate of $32 billion annually on the treatment of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Despite these huge figures, not every person suffering from NAFLD is able to receive treatment due to the high medical cost as the state covers just a fraction of it. Although people take health coverage to pay for medical costs, a survey conducted in 2017 showed that 11.3% of adult Americans had no medical coverage and those that have, it is limited to a certain amount leading to patients of NAFLD to seek alternatives to cover the deficit. Sadly, this disease is silent with over 100,000,000 Americans living with fatty liver and are not aware of it.

Cost of Treatment for NAFLD

The annual cost of care for a NAFLD patient that has a private insurance poloicy is $7,804 and for new diagnosis is $3,789 - without treatment. Treatment cost for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is very high according to a study presented at the International Liver Congress 2019 in Vienna. The annual cost of treating NAFLD has been approximated to range between $20,000 to $100,000 annually based on a study by a group of Israeli researchers. To meet these expenses, many have to rely on loans; however, it’s important to bear in mind that consumer debt is not the same as medical debt, as medical debt is not incurred voluntarily and does not involve credit extension.

Where to Find Help for Medical Bills

Many people are facing overwhelming medical financial burdens today regardless of some having insurance coverage. However, there is now hope for patients of NAFLD in meeting the cost of treatment. There are several organizations that help with the cost of treatment in America. HealthWell Foundation is a non-profit organization that works at improving access to healthcare for American’s that are underinsured. Even for those that have health insurance, it often is not enough. Healthwell is able to get help some with their medical bill.  Since 2004, the organization has helped more than 320,000 patients while in 2016 only, it awarded medical grants of more than $169.8 Million. There are also many other organizations that help people access health care. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is a U.S agency in the department of Health and Human Services that helps the uninsured, medically vulnerable and isolated to access health care services. Needy Meds is a non-profit organization that also offers assistance to individuals that cannot afford medicine or health care services. Caring Voice is a national non-profit organization that offers financial aid to cover medical bills for individuals suffering from serious chronic diseases.

Many people continue to suffer with NAFLD/NASH because the cost implications of treatment and care. A lot of these people do not know that there are organizations willing to help. There is no need therefore not to get diagnosed and treated with so much help available to those that cannot afford treatment and care.

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