President Obama Signs Medicare IVIG Access Act into Law

President Obama signed the Medicare IVIG Access Act (HR 1845) into law January 10. HR 1845 provides for a demonstration project to examine the benefits of providing coverage to administer intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in the home for patients with Primary Immunodeficiency Disease (PIDD) Medicare law contains a special provision for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases to receive home infusions of IVIG under Medicare Part B. However, before enactment of the new law, Medicare has only been able to pay for the drug, but not the costs associated with the infusion of IVIG at home, thus rendering the benefit useless and effectively denying IVIG home infusions.

In the U.S., about 250,000 people are diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency diseases, and thousands more go undetected. Primary immunodeficiency occurs in patients born with a poorly functioning or absent immune system. There are more than 185 different types of PIDD, all caused by hereditary or genetic defects.

Without treatment, everyday illnesses like the common cold can put these people at risk for infection and more serious complications. Fewer than 10,000 Medicare patients with PIDD receive immunoglobulin therapy on a regular basis to replace the antibodies that their bodies do not produce naturally, allowing most to live healthy lives. “There’s nothing more disconcerting for a physician than to have a treatment that’s effective for a patient, and then we can’t get it to them, said Dr. Michael Blaese,” Medical Director of the Immune Deficiency Foundation. For more information, visit http://primaryimmune.org/ivig-reimbursement.HR 1845

Last Updated 7/11/2017

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