Insurance refuses to continue previously effective medications for ADHD in adults because of policy coverage changes unknown to patients
With an increasing number of adults being nearly diagnosed with ADHD, the expense of ADHD medications for insurance companies has escalated. While the annual prescription increase for childhood ADHD is less than 3%, the ADHD prescription market is growing at approximately 10% per year. As a result of this change, companies are under increased pressure to reduce their pharmacy expense. While this issue is certainly not limited to ADHD medication, my patients are finding the course of the medication treatment disrupted by insurance companies obstructionistic prior approval requests for long-acting stimulant medications.
Patients and their treating physicians may struggle for some time to find the most effective individualized medication dose that produces an optimal reduction in symptoms with tolerable side effects. Patients have recently found insurance companies changing their coverage of authorized medications. That means, that despite prior approval for your current medication, the new coverage change may no longer authorize the medication and/or dose. This is becoming extremely disruptive to my patients finding themselves forced to change medication because of high deductibles, leaving them paying hundreds of dollars a month for their prior effective medication.
To give you a specific example, SavRx, a prescription management service in Fremont, Nebraska, informed my patient who has been treated with Adderall XR 80 mg in the morning for the past six months that the coverage for this was no longer available to her, despite the fact that it had been approved by the previous pharmacy management company. Having submitted the documentation of effective treatment for months, SavRx is still not approving her optimal dose.
My recent experience indicates that this approach to medication authorization is increasing in frequency across several companies. I will continue to post blogs giving examples from other companies.
My suggestion to patients who encounter this issue with their treatment is to call your insurance company and complain about your specific case. The insurance companies may not be aware of what is happening and they certainly don’t want unhappy subscribers, let alone bad public press. We will soldier on.