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Health Insurance Companies Take Action to Stop the Opioid Epidemic

Health Insurance Companies Take Action to Stop the Opioid Epidemic
April 20
08:40 2016

As the numbers of individual struggling with opioid use continue to grow, health insurance companies have decided to implement new programs to stop further growth of this epidemic.

One of these effective programs is by CeltiCare Health Plan, whereas the company assigns case managers to members who need some extra support when recovering from opioid addiction. “This is the biggest potential solution to this problem, I think, because at the end of the day we have to find the members who are or could be in trouble, and we need them to be invested in addressing their issues,” said Jay Gonzales, the CEO of CeltiCare Health Plan, to NPR.

Not only does this offer some extra benefits to the member enrolled in the program, but this helps to decrease the high costs from the epidemic. According to Gonzales, CelriCare spend 10% of last year’s entire budget on a medication to treat addiction to narcotics. The goal of the program is to gradually lower the number of relapses that often lead to overdoses, while keeping the members sober for good. CeltiCare also plans to limit the supply of pain pills. In the February, the 15-day supply will be reduced to a 7-day supply.

Another Massachusetts-based company, Blue Cross Blue Shield will also be reducing the supply number of opioids for the initial prescription for their patients. Neighborhood Health Plan in Boston has hired social workers to reach out to members who have a high risk of relapsing after drug addiction treatment. This health insurer also has a similar pilot program in place for their members after they have been hospitalized for an overdose, whereas they are assigned recovery coaches.

According to the Association of Community Affiliated Plans, between the years of 1993 and 2012, the rate of inpatient hospital stays related to this drug went up 150% across the US. With more and more programs being developed to stop the opioid addiction, hopefully this will limit the number of hospital visits regarding opioid use.

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Kerri Adams

Kerri Adams

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