LETTER – Emergency overdose treatment reimbursed by insurance under Auth bill approved by Assembly

The Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Auth clarifying that emergency administration of medication by ambulance personnel to save the lives of overdose victims is covered by health benefit plans. The bill (A4596) specifies the potentially life-saving use of epinephrine, naloxone and continuous positive airway pressure treatments are not subject to deductibles.

“Emergency calls to 911 for drug overdoses are far too common,” said Auth (R-Bergen). “In light of the insidious heroin crisis, ambulances and EMTs are now carrying Narcan and other antidotes that save lives. This bill resolves uncertainty about payment by insurers. The treatments are covered, and exempt from deductible limits.”

Narcan is the brand name for naloxone. It has been used to save thousands of lives in the state. In 2016 alone, it was used 10,000 to resuscitate overdose victims.

In June, Gov. Chris Christie signed a law making it legal to buy the medication over the counter at pharmacies without a prescription.