Insurers remove barriers to treating substance abuse

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An agreement between Pennsylvania and seven health insurance companies has the potential to save thousands of lives affected by the opioid crisis.

The insurers agreed to remove prior authorization requirements for treatment of substance use disorders.

Prior authorization in a health plan is when health care providers must obtain advance approval to qualify for payment before a specific service is delivered to a patient.

“We want to ensure that individuals who need treatment can get the level of care they need, when they need it, without unnecessary barriers,” Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said.

“A two or three day wait can be really critical, and then they might relapse and lose that window of opportunity to get into recovery,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

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