Michigan Gov. Whitmer receives federal approval for opioid overdose, treatment medications

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that her state’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services had received approval from the federal government to add two new opioid-related benefits to the state’s Essential Health Benefits benchmark plan for the 2022 plan year.

The two new benefits – to treat opioid use disorder and to reduce overdose deaths – were approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Michigan is facing many challenges right now, but we haven’t lost sight of the importance of helping those who are struggling due to the national opioid epidemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “These new benefits will help people battling opioid use disorder access lifesaving treatment and will help us achieve our goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in our state.”

The changes mean that for the 2022 plan year, individual and small group health insurance plans will have to provide coverage for at least one intranasal spray opioid reversal agent when patients are prescribed opioids at dosages of 50 morphine milligram equivalents or higher; and will remove barriers to prescribing buprenorphine or other equivalent product for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.

“Through our work with Michigan’s Opioids Task Force, we sought to ensure people have access to medications to prevent opioid overdose deaths and obtain the most effective treatments for opioid use disorder,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “With minimal impact to premiums of less than $2 per month, this change will help in our fight to save lives and support individuals struggling with opioid use disorder.”

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