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Insurers Restrict Access To Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

Sep 25, 2017

This story was co-published with The New York Times.

At a time when the United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.

Emily Foreman / Side Effects Public Media

Pregnant women with opioid addiction often face obstacles in managing their treatment, including finding a doctor and battling with insurance paperwork. At a vulnerable time, they often stumble and relapse because of these problems.

While treatment for the disease is relatively straightforward, the communication between insurers and providers can be riddled with clerical errors and prone to delays.

Emily Forman / Side Effects Public Media

Nurse Catherine “Bizz” Grimes moves like her name sounds: at a frenetic pace. She darts across the hall from the prenatal diagnosis clinic at Indiana University Health University Hospital in Indianapolis, sits down at her cubicle, puts on her headset over curly white blonde hair and starts dialing.