Buprenorphine Remains Underutilized Despite Relaxed Regulations

In 2021, almost all commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans covered at least one immediate-release buprenorphine, a medication for treating opioid use disorder (OUD), according to a recent Health Affairs study. Also, since 2017, fewer health plans have been requiring prior authorization and quantity limits for those medications.

However, fewer than half of commercial formularies and one-fifth of MA formularies covered extended-release buprenorphine products in 2021. Comparatively, 82.8% of Medicaid formularies covered such medications, and the share of Medicaid formularies without prior authorization requirements increased from 6.8% in 2018 to 63.3% in 2021.

© 2024 MMIT
Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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