Michigan seeks to broaden addiction treatment insurance coverage

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The goal is to offer more to residents addicted to opioids and to boost opioid reversal medication availability.

Michigan is working on expanding its addiction treatment insurance coverage. The idea is to make sure there is more help available for those addicted to opioids and to ensure that reversal medications are more accessible.

The state plans to make this widened coverage available to its residents in 2022.

The reason the state wants to broaden its addiction treatment insurance coverage is that it wants to reduce the number of people dying from these types of drug.

There are two strategies for treating patients who are addicted to these powerful medications. The first is naloxone, which is a medication that can reverse an overdose of these drugs. The second is buprenorphine, which is a medication that helps patients to manage their addictions. These are central to saving lives, explained University of Michigan Medical School assistant professor Dr. Lewei Allison Lin.

“These are some of the only treatments we have in all of mental health care that have been directly shown to be associated with reduced death rates,” she explained.

Increasing addiction treatment coverage can help to expand access to these two drugs.

At the moment, Michigan faces inconsistent access to those drugs, said Dr. Lin. This is contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis in the state as well as across the country, she added.

Michigan health data shows that in 2018, there were 2,599 residents who died from opioid overdoses.

“There are a lot of issues that make it hard to get this medication,” said Lin. “That’s why it’s really, really good to see these treatments promoted as a fundamental, basic requirement of our health care.”

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is seeking to raise addiction treatment insurance coverage for opioid use disorder for the 650,000 state residents who are enrolled in health plans through the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace. This is part of a broader proposal from the department to expand the list of Addiction treatment insurance - syringe - pills“essential health benefits” that would require the two medications to be covered on ACA marketplace plans.

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