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No More Insurance Delays for New Hampshire Drug Rehab

heroin addictIn Concord, New Hampshire, the number of people expected to die from heroin and opioid overdoses – which includes overdoses of heroin, fentanyl, Opana, prescription painkillers like OxyContin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, vicodin, and so on – is expected to be over 400 by the end of 2015, which is twice the number of overdose deaths in 2013. But a panel of New Hampshire lawmakers is taking steps to make it easier to get treatment.

If an addict can’t get help quickly, there’s a good possibility it will be the last time they make the effort. I’m not saying they’re all going to die of an overdose the next day, but they may never again be in good enough shape to try to get treatment.

So speeding up access to treatment is of primary concern to N.H. officials.

Possibly the most significant change is regarding insurance. Right now, a drug addict has to get his insurance company to preauthorize admission.  How much of a delay this causes is different for every insurance company and plan, but I know of people who have waited for literally weeks before their insurance company gives them an okay for some medical procedures.

While it’s true there is a small number of people who overdose who are not addicts, I would say the vast majority of overdoses – probably at least 90 percent of them – could have been prevented if the person had received treatment.

So, the panel is proposing access without preauthorization. That’s what happens when someone goes to the emergency room, and it’s appropriate that an addict getting into a drug addiction rehabilitation also be looked at as an emergency.

The panel is also proposing that insurers standardize their criteria for providing alcohol and drug addiction rehab to help ensure a consistent quality of care and that drug and alcohol education be increased in schools.

Plus, they’re looking at how to expand drug courts and law enforcement,  and tightening rules regarding prescription drugs.

Addicts, and anyone who knows one, or anyone who cares enough about the effects of drug addiction and would like to do something about it, should keep an eye on what’s happening with these proposals and help get them implemented.

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