Pinellas man needs lifesaving RX

Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 18, 2016

"It's getting crazy. I don't feel like I'm going to make it."

55-year-old Bill Stenger knows he may not have much time left.

"I'm just not able to take much more of this."

He's sick with Hepatitis C and can't get the prescription three different doctors have written because 'WellCare' has denied it every time.

"Now, I have the SSI which comes with the Medicaid, which comes with insurance, and now I can't get the medication because I have the insurance and the insurance company just won't approve it," Stenger said.

Harvoni is discounted for Medicaid patients, still horribly expensive.

"This is $93,000 worth of medication in this box,” said Dr. Bob Wallace, Love the Golden Rule, Inc.

Dr. Wallace's non-profit clinic in south St. Pete treats Hepatitis C and HIV patients for free, but he says because Stenger has Medicaid the drug he needs has been out of reach.

"My last chance was to call ABC Action News and see if getting a story out and having this public and let them know exactly what StayWell is doing to their patients that someone will do something,” said Dr. Wallace.

We reached out to Staywell which is run by Wellcare a private insurance company managing the state's Medicaid.

An email from a Wellcare spokesperson reads:

"Harvoni is not on the approved state" list that "other medications to treat Hepatitis C" are.”

It goes on to say members can "seek coverage for a non-preferred drug if preferred options prove ineffective."

"He's literally dying. He's dying in front of me and I can't, I can't let that happen,” said Dr. Wallace.

Dr. Wallace says how much time Stenger has left is now in Wellcare's and the state's hands. 

"The longer I wait, the more it becomes, it'll be too late,” said Stenger.