Pilot program will cover cost of buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder for uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers
The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and the New York State Department of Health announced the launch of the buprenorphine assistance pilot program to assist New Yorkers with the cost of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).
A press release stated, “Bupe-AP will cover the cost of buprenorphine for eligible uninsured and under-insured individuals with no out-of-pocket costs for their medication. Buprenorphine is used to help manage OUD involving substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids, and decreases the risk for opioid-related mortality (overdose).”
OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, “Cost should not be a barrier to accessing lifesaving medications. This benefit will help ensure equitable access to critical buprenorphine treatment, and will undoubtedly help to reduce overdose deaths.”
Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “Ensuring fair access to this lifesaving medication is another step toward providing compassionate care for New Yorkers who are struggling with opioid use disorder. This partnership demonstrates the state’s dedication to addressing the harm caused by the opioid epidemic, and prioritizes treatment and the use of safe, effective medication that will ultimately save lives.”
The Bupe-AP pilot program will be managed by the DOH AIDS Institute’s Office of Uninsured Care Programs (UCP), working in partnership with the NYSDOH Office of Drug User Health. The pilot program will utilize UCP’s existing pharmacy benefit management system, allowing access to over 4,300 pharmacies currently enrolled.
The program will allow for select OASAS and DOH programs to roll-out the benefit, make modifications as necessary, and expand to additional agencies in the future. Programs will be required to utilize guidelines to identify those patients who meet eligibility criteria. Opioid stewardship funds will be utilized to cover the cost of medication, as well as staff time to process the claims.
The press release stated, “New York state has instituted an aggressive, multipronged approach to address the overdose epidemic, comprised of a nation-leading continuum of prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services. This comprehensive system includes crisis services, inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs, mobile treatment and transportation services, as well as medication for substance use disorder.
“In addition, DOH recently launched a new harm reduction campaign that advises individuals to avoid using opioids and other drugs alone, and to know that, in case of an overdose, calling 911 will not result in a possession charge. Persons who use drugs are encouraged to carry naloxone and know how to administer this life-saving medication. More information about the new harm reduction campaign can be found at https://www.health.ny.gov/saferchoices.
“OASAS also continues to support expansions to harm reduction services across New York state, including expanding access to medication for addiction, naloxone, and other services to support overall health and well-being of people impacted by addiction. More information about the OASAS Bureau of Harm Reduction and available services and resources can be found at https://oasas.ny.gov/harm-reduction.”
New Yorkers who want assistance for themselves or their loved ones with their substance use or gambling can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).