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Cigna Lifts Block on Opioid Addiction Medications

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Cigna HealthOne of the country’s largest insurers, Cigna health, has granted patients faster access to life-saving addiction-treatment medications like Suboxone, marking a positive step toward managing the opioid abuse crisis.

Cigna Health

Breaking down treatment barriers

The national settlement came after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked Cigna to provide information about its medication-assisted treatment (MAT) policies. Previously, doctors had to deal with prior authorization rules and mountains of paperwork in order to provide their patients with opioid-addiction medication, which often led to lengthy delays in treatment.  Now, according to a recent NPR article, eliminating prior authorization rules eases the burden on the patient, and helps them get the treatment medications they need faster.

Preventing relapse

Health experts have said that prior authorization rules for medications like Suboxone, the trade name for a drug that treats addiction to narcotic pain relievers, can lead to treatment delays which often goes hand-in-hand with relapses. In his statement following the settlement, Schneiderman said:

“Removing barriers to proven effective life-saving treatment is an important component to address New York’s and the nation’s opioid addiction crisis. Getting people into treatment faster, and when the window of opportunity is open, is vital to stemming the opioid addiction crisis. I applaud Cigna for taking this action. Other health insurers should take notice of Cigna’s actions to remove access barriers to treat opioid dependency and I encourage those insurers to follow suit.”

Rising levels of opioid addiction

With more and more people becoming dependent on both prescription and non-prescription narcotics, opioid addiction is now listed as a national epidemic. Between 2011 and 2015, spending among private insurers for opioid-related conditions increased more than 1,000 percent – a staggering amount. In a press release distributed earlier this year, Cigna announced a partnership with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, saying, “We must accelerate the adoption of evidence-based approaches in clinical practice, and transform the current treatment model to one that is based on national standards and is more prevention-focused.”

Dealing with addiction

Opioid addiction is a serious condition that requires professional care. If you are struggling with opioid addiction, or love someone who is, we’re here to help. Contact our team at The Watershed now at 1-800-861-1768 for more information on our addiction treatment programs. We’re available 24/7 and ready to talk whenever you are.

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