Private Coverage of Methadone in Outpatient Treatment Programs

In an Article written by PISC Advisory Board Member, Daniel Polsky, PhD, MPP, et al., he addresses the issue of methadone access in the midst of an opioid epidemic. During the past 10 years, opioid overdose deaths have increased by 157%, but the number of facilities treating addiction has remained roughly unchanged, and the majority still do not use medication to treat.

Of the three medications approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder, methadone has been in use for the longest period and has the most extensive evidence base of effectiveness. However, new insurance policies favor access to buprenorphine and neglect to dismantle barriers to obtaining methadone. Polsky et al. cover options to address barriers to Methadone access including expanding coverage of methadone, eliminating prior authorization, reducing patients’ out-of-pocket costs, and more. Polsky also discusses major limitations to addressing these barriers.

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