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06/14/2018

Wolf Administration Provides Important Consumer Information to Avoid Addiction Treatment Scams (Round-up)

Harrisburg, PA - Last week, the Wolf Administration provided consumers with information to help identify addiction treatment scams, as part of the multi-agency coordinated effort to battle the opioid crisis. An Insurance Department survey of major health insurers covering 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s commercial market found more than 7,100 Pennsylvanians seeking substance use disorder treatment, or more than one in six people covered by these insurers seeking such treatment, went to out-of-state facilities during 2016 and 2017.

“While there are many reputable facilities in other states, instances of individuals being recruited to other treatment centers with offers of payment for travel or health insurance coverage can lead to insurance fraud, misleading or dangerous living conditions, and individuals with substance use disorder failing to receive the treatment they need,” Jennifer Smith, Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs said.

Smith strongly encouraged Pennsylvanians seeking treatment for themselves or a loved one to utilize their Single County Authority (SCA), the local drug and alcohol treatment and prevention authority in Pennsylvania’s counties, to help locate a DDAP-licensed treatment facility, or the free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

“The opioid epidemic has made families desperate to get help for their loved ones and has unfortunately opened the door to unscrupulous people who prey on these families to lure unsuspecting individuals in need of treatment to facilities that may provide little or no treatment, and can lead to more problems, including financial ruin, and even death,” said Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. Altman said any recovery or sober home offering to bill insurance for rent is a scam, as no medical services are offered at these homes, so insurance will not pay any expenses there, including rent.

Take a look at the coverage below:

Allentown Morning Call Buyer beware: out-of-state drug rehab group homes

The nation’s ongoing opioid and heroin abuse crisis isn’t just big business for street-corner drug dealers and unscrupulous medical and pharmaceutical professionals. It’s becoming a big, largely unregulated, business for outfits purporting to treat the addicted in group settings, causing Pennsylvania officials to issue a consumer fraud alert.

WHP-TV, Harrisburg State officials warning people to be wary of addiction center scams

State officials are warning people to be wary of out of unsolicited referrals to out-of-state addiction treatment centers that may provide little or no treatment. They say some facilities have been recruiting and scamming people out of hundreds of millions of dollars through fake and inflated insurance claims.

KDKA Radio State officials have issued a warning to Pennsylvanians about out-of-state addiction treatment and sober living home scams.

Scranton Times-Tribune State officials warning people to be wary of addiction center scams

State Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman and Jennifer Smith, secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, advised residents to be wary of advertisements from out-of-state drug treatment centers. Many are from so-called “sober living homes” or “recovery houses” in Florida, California and Arizona looking to entice addicts to seek recovery in warm climates.

Butler Radio The opioid addiction crisis in Pennsylvania has forced more people to seek treatment, which has also led to more treatment scams popping up.

Information on questions to ask if consumers are solicited for an out-of-state recovery home or addiction treatment center are at www.insurance.pa.gov, on the Health page. A list of licensed treatment facilities in Pennsylvania is also available at www.ddap.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle - 717-783-1787

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