Hepatitis C Can Be Deadly. Here’s How to Get a Free or Low-Cost Screening

Hepatitis C is one of those illnesses that tend to get overshadowed by more widely known chronic health issues like diabetes or asthma.

But Hepatitis C deserves more attention that it gets since it affects about 200,000 people each year.

Fortunately, Hepatitis C is a treatable illness. Some studies even suggest it could eventually be cured.   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% to 80% of people with acute Hepatitis C don’t have any symptoms.

Left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure, so it’s important to learn whether you carry the virus in your system.

The CDC recommends a Hepatitis C blood test if you:

  • Were born between 1925 and 1965
  • Are currently injecting drugs or have in the past
  • Have HIV or other underlying conditions that raise your risk of contracting Hepatitis C
  • Are a recipient of transfusions or organ transplants
  • Have been exposed to blood that may contain the virus

If you don’t know whether you should be tested for Hepatitis C, be sure to contact your doctor for advice.

Where to Find Affordable Hepatitis C Testing

Some insurance plans cover the entire cost of Hepatitis C testing.

If yours doesn’t, or you don’t have health insurance at all, here are five affordable ways to get screened.

1. Medicare

Medicare covers one physician-ordered Hepatitis C test.

Medicare also covers yearly repeat testing for high-risk people.

2. Medicaid

Some Medicaid plans cover Hepatitis C screening. Check your plan to see whether you’re covered.

3. Affordable Health-Care Plans

Insurance plans obtained under the Affordable Care Act cover Hepatitis C screening for at-risk adults and one time for anyone born between 1945 and 1965.

4. Community Health Clinics

Some community health clinics across the country offer Hepatitis C testing.

Use the U.S. Department of Health’s clinic locator to find a clinic near you.

5. Local Wellness Centers

Check the CDC database to find wellness centers and nonprofit organizations that offer free or low-cost Hepatitis C screening in your area.

If none of these options works for you, type “free Hepatitis C testing near me” into your favorite browser.

Independent physician networks like Analyte Physicians Group may offer free testing through clinical laboratories in your area.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys telling readers about affordable ways to stay healthy, so look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a tip to share.