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Monday, March 19, 2012

Addiction is Addiction

Every year thousands of people seek help for their addiction to one substance or another. Unfortunately, the substance one is addicted to can dictate how long one will be covered by their insurance company for treatment.

People who are addicted to opioids may be denied coverage for treatment all together, according to an Oklahoma addiction specialist Dr. Charles Shaw.

Shaw finds it difficult to get insurance companies to cover extended stays in substance abuse treatment programs. Sadly, the longer one stays in residential treatment the better. “There’s no question—the longer you stay the better,” he told NewsOK.com.

When it comes to alcohol addiction insurance companies are more likely to cover it than opioid treatment. If they do decide to cover opioid treatment it is usually only for several days - which is not enough according to Shaw.

Nicole Amend, a spokeswoman with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the state’s largest health insurance company, said it covers extended stays in drug treatment centers “when medically necessary.” In a statement, Amend said, “When seeking treatment for an addiction, behavioral health coverage is not dependent on either the member’s age or the type of substance addiction. However, the type of substance and the member’s age may impact the appropriate treatment option available.”

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