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Kentucky Medicaid Provider Reverses Decision on Payment for Buprenorphine

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The Medicaid contractor in Kentucky that announced last week it would stop paying for the opioid addiction medication buprenorphine has reversed its decision, according to The Courier-Journal.

The company, Coventry Cares, is one of four companies hired by Kentucky to manage Medicaid. It announced last week that while it would no longer pay for the medicine, it did not intend to immediately stop coverage for patients already taking the drug, sold under the brand name Suboxone.

Coventry made its decision in response to legal threats over its drug coverage, the newspaper reports. SelfRefind, a network of substance abuse treatment clinics, had said it would file a lawsuit alleging Coventry violated its state contract and federal law by refusing to pay for buprenorphine.

The company initially said it was halting coverage of buprenorphine because under Kentucky’s Medicaid program, only pregnant women, women who recently gave birth and those under age 21 are eligible for addiction treatment.

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