Data Snapshots - Hepatitis

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Health Disparities in the Medicare Population Hepatitis (Chronic Viral B & C)

Hepatitis is a disease caused by one of five known viruses: A, B, C, D, and E that results in inflammation of the liver, and can be acute, chronic, or unspecified. Both hepatitis B and C are chronic, persistent or otherwise long-lasting in their effects, and can progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. There is no cure available for hepatitis B or C, but regular monitoring for the progression of liver disease is necessary. A vaccine is recommended for anyone seeking long term protection from hepatitis B. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.2 million people are living with hepatitis B and 3.2 million are living with hepatitis C in the United States.

1 In 2014, Hepatitis B was highest among Blacks with 0.9 cases per 100,000.2 American Indian/Alaska Natives had the highest incidence of Hepatitis C in 2014 with 1.3 cases per 100,000.3 Asian/Pacific Islanders make up less than 5% of the population, but account for 50% of Americans living with hepatitis B.4 In 2014, 0.7% of all Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) beneficiaries and 2.4% of those less than 65 years of age had claims with a diagnosis of hepatitis B or C .5 Within the less than 65 years of age population, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are higher among males (2.8%) than among females (1.9%). The figure below shows the prevalence of hepatitis B or C among beneficiaries less than 65 years of age. Asian/ Pacific Islanders (3.3%) had the highest prevalence of hepatitis compared to American Indian (2.7%), Hispanic (2.6%) and White (2.2%).

Prevalence of hepatitis (Chronic Viral B & C) among Medicare beneficiaries less than 65 years old by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

illustrated hepatitis virus
Bar graph: Asian/Pacific Islander -  3.3%; American Indian/Alaskan - 2.7%; Hispanic - 2.6%; White - 2.2% Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Chronic Conditions Wearhouse (CCW)
Note: Population is limited to Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries. RTI Race Code used for analysis. Racial categories of White, Black/African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asia/Pacific Islander are classified as non-Hispanic. Hispanic ethnicity includes all race categories. “*” indicates that the data have been suppressed because there are fewer than 11 Medicare beneficiaries in the cell.


Medicare & You: Hepatitis Awareness Video: Describes coverage, including hepatitis B vaccinations and hepatitis C screening tests for those at risk.

Page Last Modified:
04/07/2017 04:30 PM