In Massachusetts, a state known for enacting mandatory health insurance coverage prior to the Affordable Care Act, more insurers are now covering methadone treatment. As of July 1, several plans with a combined 2.6 million enrollees will begin to offer the coverage.
According to the Boston Globe, the insurers made the decision after talking to state officials who are concerned about the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts.
According to recent SAMHSA data, an estimated 185,000 individuals in the state were dependent on or abused illicit drugs within the last year—with only 12.9 percent receiving treatment. The trend hasn’t budged. Meanwhile, the number of people enrolled in opioid treatment programs increased from 10,580 in 2009 to 15,297 in 2013, according to SAMHSA.
Advocates are concerned that out-of-pocket costs will deter individuals from seeking daily methadone treatment. The Boston Globe reports that the local Blue Cross plan already covers the treatment, as does Medicaid.