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AG: Cigna settlement eases access to addiction treatment drugs

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says medication-assisted treatment has been "effective in helping patients recover from opioid use disorder." Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

The health care insurer Cigna has ended its policy of requiring prior authorization before its clients can get medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Friday.

“Pre-authorization requirements can lead to delays — sometimes significant — in patients obtaining treatment for addiction,” Schneiderman said.

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, involves the prescription or dispensing of certain medications by a doctor certified in their use. MAT medications usually contain buprenorphine and naloxone.

Schneiderman said that “when prescribed and monitored properly,” MAT has been “effective in helping patients recover from opioid use disorder, and is both safe and cost-effective to reduce the risk of overdose.”

The state recently enacted legislation barring insurers from requiring pre-authorization for emergency supplies of MAT, and the federal government has increased the number of patients a doctor can treat at one time, Schneiderman said.

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