In an effort to help reverse the trend of opioid and heroin abuse devastating Central New York communities, Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Nelson) announced his sponsorship of a bill requiring insurance companies to cover at least 90 days of inpatient rehabilitation services, when prescribed by a doctor, to an insured person who is struggling with addiction (A.9211).
“Those battling substance abuse need intensive treatment to permanently break free of addiction, and we must do all we can to ensure they are supported throughout their recovery,” Magee said. “This proposal ensures that health insurers provide adequate coverage for those recovering from addiction to heroin.”
Record numbers of heroin- and opioid-related hospitalizations and deaths are occurring throughout the state, including in the counties of Madison, Oneida and Otsego that Magee represents.
Between 2010 and 2014, heroin- and opioid-related emergency room visits by Madison County residents jumped 77 percent. The increase was 66 percent for Oneida County residents and 70 percent for Otsego County residents.1 In 2014, 84 Madison County residents, 71 Otsego County residents and 248 Oneida County residents sought treatment for conditions related to opioid or heroin use.2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use and misuse of prescription painkillers is responsible for the upsurge in heroin addiction and heroin-related overdoses.3
Although insurance companies are required by law to cover addiction treatment at inpatient facilities, this bill provides for at least 90 days to ensure that patients can fully recover and are less likely to relapse once released.
“This is a necessary step we must take to effectively combat New York’s heroin and opioid crisis,” Magee said. “Expanding access to inpatient treatment will help save lives and protect public health.”
Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those struggling with addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services’ toll-free hotline at 877-846-7369. Information about the signs of heroin abuse is available online at combatheroin.ny.gov.