N.H. to Examine Health Insurers’ Substance Abuse Treatment Coverage

December 1, 2015

New Hampshire’s Insurance Department is examining whether insurance companies are appropriately covering substance abuse services as required by law.

The probe comes as New Hampshire seeks to expand treatment and recovery services amid a heroin and opioid crisis that’s claimed more than 500 lives in two years. The president’s health care overhaul law requires insurance companies to provide equal coverage for addiction treatment as they do for physical health.

“Under New Hampshire and federal law, insurance policies that cover treatment for mental health conditions — including substance use disorder and addiction — must do so in the same manner and to the same degree as they cover conditions relating to physical health,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny.

But some providers and advocates say companies are denying coverage for routine treatment. The investigation will look at coverage from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, 2015, and the Insurance Department hopes to release a preliminary report by this coming January. The department has the power to order companies violating the law to correct their actions, pay penalties or leave the state.

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