Commonly Asked Questions
While health plans can’t openly reject people with hepatitis B, some have devised a way to keep people from buying their policies. They have done this by dramatically increasing the copays consumers pay out-of-pocket for the two leading hepatitis B antiviral drugs – Viread (tenofovir disoproxil) and generic entecavir. This deliberately makes their health plans unaffordable for people with hepatitis B. Read our HepB Blog for more information about this issue.
Learn more about how to research drug prices on the healthcare marketplace (www.healthcare.gov). Download a free template to file a complaint with your state’s Bureau of Insurance and the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Civil Rights Office about health plan over-pricing of the hepatitis B antivirals Viread (tenofovir) and generic entecavir. Read our instructions.
The use of antivirals significantly decreases the risk of liver damage from the hepatitis B virus by slowing down or stopping the virus from reproducing. The less virus in the liver, the less damage is being done. The newest antivirals (Tenofovir disoproxil and entecavir) are very potent and effective, however, they work only as long as they are taken. Most people take one pill every day for years, and the current thought is that these antiviral drugs may need to be taken lifelong (just like drugs for hypertension, high cholesterol and high blood sugar).
Although there is no specific diet for chronic hepatitis B, eating a lot of vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, and fish or lean meats is helpful. Focusing on a low fat, low cholesterol, and high fiber diet is beneficial as well. Avoid greasy, fried foods (e.g. fast food restaurants), processed meats (e.g. hot dogs, deli meats), drinks with a lot of sugar (e.g. soda, high energy drinks), and processed food that use white flour or white rice (the natural brown fiber that has been removed from the flour and rice is actually the healthiest part!). So whenever possible, try to choose eating foods with brown flour and brown rice instead. Use common sense, eat a balanced diet, and exercise if possible.