Young drug addicts denied insurance coverage needed for recovery

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by Sharon Ko / KENS 5

kvue.com

Posted on February 22, 2014 at 2:19 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Heroin is hooking young users nationwide, but when it comes to getting help with in-patient services to overcome addiction, they are running into roadblocks with insurance coverage.

A woman who spoke with KENS 5 said her son started using drugs when he was 12 years old. When her son made a choice to stop using, insurance companies denied him coverage to get the help he needed.

"When you finally get to a point of being willing to get help? You gotta seize that moment," Elizabeth Todd said. "He went to an intensive out-patient treatment for a week before the insurance company said 'no, we're not going to cover it anymore.'"

Palmer Drug Abuse Program said insurance companies do not classify addiction recovery as life-threatening. The program director, Trish Frye, said companies ask patients to seek out-patient services first, but even then, clients are running into roadblocks.

"By the time they get to treatment, now they're no longer eligible because they haven't used for three days, according to insurance," Frye said. "So, really? If we moved the substance for somebody, that's enough? I don't think it is."

"Ultimately, what happens is we prolong people's problems. We prolong the disease."

Todd said she relies on out-patient services and takes it day by day with her son to fight his addiction.

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