May 15, 2019
The United States’ opioid epidemic continues to grow at an alarming rate. Thousands of people find themselves joining the millions of Americans suffering from addiction every day.
In 2017, the number of opioid-related deaths exceeded 47,000 people — more than 130 deaths each day.1 Opioid addiction often starts because of prescription medication abuse, and nearly one in every three Medicare Part D beneficiaries took a prescription opioid in 2017.2,3
So, what is being done to fight this growing public health crisis? Can we find a balance between effective pain management and addiction prevention? What is the best way to help treat those struggling with opioid addiction? And — as neither the physician, nor pharmacist, nor patient — how can a health insurance company help?
To help fight the problem, Independence Blue Cross is taking a multi-pronged approach. We’re working closely with our network providers and pharmacists to give them the tools, information, and resources they need to care for their patients who are prescribed opioids, including:
For our members struggling with addiction, our health plans include coverage for:
For additional information, learn how Independence Blue Cross is fighting the opioid epidemic in 2019.
To see real, significant change, we all must do our part. From providers to patients, pharmacists to insurers — we are all responsible for handling opioid medications with the utmost care and caution.
If you, or your loved one, are prescribed an opioid pain medication, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and others from potential misuse:
This article was republished from IBX Insights.
I manage aspects of Independence’s Medicare Part D benefit and support
clinical and quality improvement efforts. My goal is to help enhance the
health and well-being of the communities that Independence serves.
* Prior authorization is required for all high-dose opioids, long-term use, and opioid-containing patches
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drug Overdose Deaths
2 Jones CM. Heroin use and heroin use risk behaviors among nonmedical users of prescription opioid pain relievers – United States, 2002-2004 and 2008-2010. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013; 132(1-2):95-100.
3 OIG analysis of Medicare Part D data, 2017
4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2014.