Among the three medications approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone), methadone has been in use for the longest period and has the most extensive evidence base of effectiveness. Yet it remains underutilized as new insurance policies favor access to buprenorphine and neglect to dismantle barriers to obtaining methadone. In the absence of wholesale regulatory change, private insurance carriers should take the lead in expanding access to this medication. The authors offer several solutions for private payers, including expanding coverage, removing prior authorization, addressing out-of-pocket costs, increasing provider reimbursement, and incentivizing system integration.
Source: Psychiatric Services, December 2019.