Aetna Embraces Medication to Combat Opioid Crisis

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Aetna is going all in on medication-assisted treatment in response to the opioid epidemic, according to a letter CEO Mark Bertolini is sending today to a handful of Democratic senators.

Bertolini highlights three goals the insurer hopes to achieve by 2022:

  • Reduce inappropriate opioid prescriptions by 50%.
  • Increase by 50% the number of opioid addicts treated with medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatments.
  • Increase the number of enrollees with chronic pain who use alternative pain treatments by 50%.

Go deeper: Aetna's embrace of medication-assisted treatment is a sharp contrast from some insurers' previous reluctance to cover the approach, which Bob Herman covered for Modern Healthcare. It also follows Tom Price's controversial comment saying medication-assisted treatment is "substituting one opioid for another."
But Aetna has already worked to make medication more available: Earlier this year, it removed all pre-authorization requirements for certain products and put them on a preventive medicine list that reduces cost-sharing for patients.

Source: American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

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