A new report by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University examines Medicaid coverage for prescription naloxone, a safe and highly effective life-saving antidote to overdose from heroin or other opioids. The researchers found that although most insurance programs pay for naloxone when it is used in a medical setting, Medicaid coverage for prescription or “take-home” naloxone remains limited. An increase of coverage for “take-home” naloxone under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Program would expand access to naloxone in the United States, and increase the odds that people at the scene of an opioid overdose would be equipped to save lives.
The new report—Medicaid Reimbursement for Take-home Naloxone: A Toolkit for Advocates—provides background on naloxone’s safety and efficacy and offers an action plan for advocates who would like to change state Medicaid policies so that the drug is covered when prescribed for use at home or in situations where overdose commonly occurs. The report also includes lessons learned from four states (Washington, North Carolina, California, and New York) where stakeholders have successfully advocated for Medicaid coverage of take-home naloxone.
The report was authored by Ms. Naomi Seiler, associate research professor of health policy; Ms. Katherine Horton, research professor of health policy; and Ms. Mary-Beth Malcarney, assistant research professor; their work was supported by the Open Society Foundations.