Photo: Georgia House of Representatives

A handful of state lawmakers want to require insurance companies to pay for opioid addiction treatment.

State Representative Karen Mathiak, the lead sponsor of the bill, filed legislation last week that would require all health benefits policies to cover addiction treatment. Specifically, the bill reads that all health benefits plans “shall provide coverage for all less addictive opioids, all opioid addiction treatments, and all opioid alternative treatments that a patient’s prescriber deems medically appropriate.”

House Bill 943 is a prefaced with a declaration that reads:

An opioid epidemic has cost the state millions of dollars in medical treatment, lost economic productivity, and increased overdose deaths, among other costs; and Providing coverage for less addictive opioids, opioid addiction treatments, and opioid alternative treatments for patients will reduce the costs borne by this state. Further, it will reduce the number of Georgians who will become addicted to opioids, and the number of Georgians who will overdose and die from them.

HB 943 mandates coverage of cognitive behavioral therapy, buprenorphine based medication or injections, Naloxone based medication or injections, Naltrexone based medications or injections, and in-patient and outpatient treatment for whatever lenght of time deemed medically appropriate by the patient’s physician, prescriber, or other medical profession, and covers addiction to what are referred to as ‘less addictive’ opioids like Buprenorphine and Embutramide.

The bill also includes coverage paid for by the state for those on the state benefits plan, meaning taxpayers would back plans covering addiction.

Mathiak, who is a chiropractor, also added language to mandate chiropractic coverage, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs by insurers as well.

The bill is backed by others, including State Representatives Mary Margaret Oliver, Deborah Silcox, Lee Hawkins, Beth Beskin, and Betty Price.

The full bill is below. Click here if you’re reading on a mobile device and cannot scroll the document. 

https://www.allongeorgia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018_House-Bill-943.pdf

 

 

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Jessica Szilagyi
Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as agricultural news. She has a background in Political Science, with a focus in local government, and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. She's a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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