Mass. Senate Passes Drug Treatment Bill

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill Tuesday afternoon looking to increase access to drug and alcohol treatment.

The bill would require commercial insurance companies to cover 21 days of detox. Patients with Mass Health, the state’s Medicaid program, would get a bit less – 15 days.

Sen. Jennifer Flanagan chairs the special committee on drug addiction. She says people seeking treatment would no longer need to call their insurers for an okay.

“We want to make sure you’re able to get into treatment without the barriers of prior authorization,” Flanagan says.

Flanagan says there are other barriers too. She says some people were denied treatment because they didn’t have enough drugs in their system or they hadn’t been addicts for long enough, or because their insurance just wouldn’t cover it.

Lawmakers say they don’t have a sense of how much this legislation would end up costing taxpayers or private insurers, who could pass on those costs to customers through premium hikes.

The bill now moves to the House.