Amid the opioid addiction crisis across the state, health insurers in Massachusetts are now agreeing to cover methadone, a heroin-addiction drug that had been shunned.
For years, heroin patients who treated their addiction with daily methadone shots were labeled junkies. But research shows that methadone is as effective — sometimes more effective — than other addiction treatment.
"The plans look at this as an opportunity to make sure that both providers and payers have everything that's medically appropriate to address the opiate crisis in the state," said Eric Linzer, a vice president with the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.
The organization represents 17 plans.
The insurers will cover methadone treatment by July 1.
Methadone has been and will continue to be available through the state's Medicaid program, MassHealth.
With reporting by WBUR's Martha Bebinger and The Associated Press