Thursday, May 19, 2016
Insurance Companies Join the Fight Against Opioid Epidemic
Health insurance companies are now joining the fight against Opioid addiction. Cigna, a health insurance firm that insures about 14 million Americans, is the newest major health insurance provider to fight the staggering opioid addiction numbers and deaths. The company is targeting what experts are saying the number one cause of the addiction, over-prescribing of prescription painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.
Big health insurance companies do have access to prescription information for its customers. The have records every-time their customer fill a prescription using their insurance. Cigna’s new measure will be to flag customers who are deemed high-risk — either for getting large amounts of opioid medicines, for getting narcotics from different doctors or for being on the medicines for a long time and they will contact with those customers’ doctors.
The doctor can give their patients other treatment options if addiction is an issue. If the doctor feels the patient still needs to be prescribed long-term narcotics, Cigna can limit where the patient is able to pick the medicine up and which doctors are able to prescribe narcotics to them, so that the doctor is able to closely monitor whether that patient seems to be needing more and more painkillers.
Cigna is targeting to lessen the number of opioid prescriptions written to its customers by 25%, back to the number of prescriptions that were being written in 2006, which the insurer calls “pre-crisis.”