Methadone Maintenance and State Medicaid Managed Care Programs

Coverage for methadone services in state Medicaid plans may facilitate access to the most effective therapy for heroin dependence. State Medicaid plans were reviewed to assess coverage for methadone services, methadone benefits in managed care, and limitations on methadone treatment. Medicaid does not cover methadone maintenance medication in 25 states (59 percent). Only 12 states (24 percent) include methadone services in Medicaid managed care plans. Moreover, two of the 12 states limit coverage for counseling or medication and others permit health plans to set limits. State authorities for Medicaid and substance abuse can collaborate to ensure that appropriate medication and treatment services are available for Medicaid recipients who are dependent on opioids and to construct payment mechanisms that minimize incentives that discourage enrollment among heroin-dependent individuals.

Author(s): Dennis McCarty; Richard G. Frank; Gabrielle C. Denmead

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Volume 77, Issue 3 (pages 341–362)
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.00139
Published in 1999