ASAM identifies and advocates for policies and practices that ensure equitable access to, and coverage for, comprehensive, high-quality addiction care for all.

Cover It: Insurance for Addiction Treatment

ASAM’s federal advocacy works to ensure mental health and addiction treatment services are covered on par with medical and surgical services by both public and private payers and are not subject to arbitrary limits or unfair utilization controls.  For example, a robust body of research shows that medications for addiction treatment, such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone, are highly effective for the treatment of OUD. However, utilization management techniques – such as prior authorization – restrict patient access to these life-saving treatments. A delay of just one day is enough time for a patient to relapse, overdose, or suffer other consequences that can adversely affect their treatment outcome.

Advocacy Action

ASAM Weighs in on ONDCP’s 2022 National Drug Control Strategy

July 6, 2021


On July 6, ASAM sent a letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) responding to a request for input on its 2022 National Drug Control Strategy. ASAM’s comments include recommendations that would strengthen the addiction medicine workforce, standardize the delivery of individualized addiction care, ensure equitable access and coverage for comprehensive, high-quality addiction care, and reduce barriers to accessing evidence-based addiction treatment.


Specifically, ASAM’s letter urged ONDCP to advance initiatives in alignment with a plethora of legislation under consideration by Congress. These efforts include legislation to improve access to addiction treatment for individuals who are incarcerated, increase access to care through Medicaid, empower clinicians to treat addiction through telehealth, and improve parity compliance among various insurers. 


ASAM also encouraged ONDCP to implement other initiatives to combat the country’s addiction crisis. These initiatives include encouraging state Medicaid programs to adopt two new sets of bundled G codes, approval of a prescription to over the counter (OTC) switch for at least one naloxone product, and regulatory changes that would allow Medicaid reimbursement for the room and board portion of SUD residential levels of care that meet certain standards, among many other efforts. 


Read the letter here.



National Initiatives

Medicare OTP Bundled Payment 

In the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), CMS finalized a methodology to implement the new Medicare Part B benefit for OUD treatment services furnished by OTPs that was established by the SUPPORT Act. Starting January 1, 2020, CMS pays OTPs through bundled payments for OUD treatment services in an episode of care provided to people with Medicare Part B. Read more.

Medicare OUD Demonstration

As a result of the SUPPORT Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Demonstration, also known as the Value in Treatment Demonstration. Starting in April 2021, this 4-year demonstration tests whether a new care management fee and performance-based incentive for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment services can cut hospitalizations and improve health outcomes for individuals with OUD.  Read more.

H.R. 955/S. 285 - Medicaid Reentry Act

ASAM supports the Medicaid Reentry Act,  which would grant states limited new flexibility to restart benefits for Medicaid-eligible incarcerated individuals 30 days prior to release. Read more


H.R. 3514/S. 1821 - Humane Correctional Health Care Act

ASAM supports the Human Correctional Health Care Act, which would repeal the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion and allow states to cover individuals, who are incarcerated, under Medicaid. Read more

H.R. 1364 - Parity Enforcement Act

ASAM supports the Parity Enforcement Act, which would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to give the U.S. Department of Labor the authority to levy civil monetary penalties against health insurers and plan sponsors for parity violations. This act would provide USDOL a critical tool to ensure health plan compliance with the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. 

H.R. 3450/S. 1727 - Medicaid Bump Act

ASAM supports the Mediciad Bump Act, which would incentivize states to expand coverage of behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use services, by providing a corresponding increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) matching rate to 90% for these services.
services. Read more.

H.R. 6 - SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was signed into law on October 24, 2018. The bill contains many provisions designed to promote coverage for addiction treatment. You can read a section by section summary of the bill here

  • OUD outpatient treatment demo in Medicare
    • Effective January 2021    
    • Emphasis on care coordination & bio-psychological-social model of care    
    • Enhances reimbursement and focuses on accountability metrics        
  • Medicare coverage of OTPs beginning January 2020
    • OTPs previously not covered by Medicare
    • Bundled payments for holistic services and coverage of methadone
    • Fee schedule updated yearly
  • Medicaid Re-entry Act
    • Law currently prohibits payment, but not enrollment for those in criminal justice settings   
    • HR 6 requires HHS to convene stakeholders to develop best practices for transitioning back into the community upon release    
  • October 2020 – September 30, 2025: Required coverage of OUD treatment medication in Medicaid, subject to some allowable exceptions.
  • Telehealth/telemedicine
    • Requires CMS to issue guidance to state Medicaid programs about the federal options for reimbursement of services delivered via telehealth
    • Waives requirement for beneficiary to be located in a county outside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or in a rural Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) located in a rural census tract beginning July 2019
    • Directs the Attorney General, with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to issue final regulations by October 2019 to provide further guidance about the special registration process
  • Added testing of incentive payments for behavioral health providers that use certified-electronic health records as a priority for HHS
  • Requires the use of e-prescribing for schedule II-V controlled substances covered under a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, or a Medicare advantage prescription drug plan starting January 2021
  • Controlled Substances Act has been changed to allow implantable or injectable medications which are controlled substances and are for the purposes of maintenance or detoxification treatment, to be delivered via specialty pharmacies

P-COAT Alternative Payment Model

ASAM and the American Medical Association (AMA) jointly released a conceptual alternative payment model entitled the "Patient- Centered Opioid Addiction Treatment (P-COAT) Alternative Payment Model." The model is designed to increase the utilization of office-based treatment of opioid use disorder by providing adequate financial support to successfully treat patients and broaden the coordinated delivery of medical, psychological, and social support services. Read more

Section 1115 Waiver

ASAM works with its state chapters and CMS to secure approval of section 1115 waivers to ensure appropriate funding and coverage of addiction treatment. Read more.

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