NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — Global health insurer Cigna has agreed
to end its policy of requiring prior authorization for medication-assisted
treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder, New York Attorney General Eric T.
Schneiderman announced last week.
“Removing barriers to proven effective life-saving treatment
is an important component to address New York’s and the nation’s opioid
addiction crisis," Schneiderman said.
"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.”
Research has proven that MAT can help patients with opioid
use disorder, when used properly. Cigna had required providers to submit an
approval form for MAT request authorization, and authorization often took
“Pre-authorization requirements for addiction medications
are harmful and discriminatory,” said Sally Friedman, legal director of the Legal Action Center.
Legal Action Center welcomes Cigna’s discontinuation of this practice for
buprenorphine. This change, together with Cigna’s existing policy of not
requiring pre-authorization for methadone, naltrexone, and other addiction
medication, will save lives.”