Health Insurance Companies Fight Back Against Painkiller Abuse
Health insurance companies are now joining in the fight against the epidemic of prescription opioid addiction by adding extra scrutiny to prescriptions for opioid medications such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Percocet).
Here are a few of the steps being taken to combat opioid misuse:
- Cigna is working with the American Society for Addiction Medicine to establish protocols ensuring only patients who have a legitimate medical need for prescriptions receive these potentially addictive medications.
- Express Scripts uses a “RationalMed” program to collect pharmacy, medical, and lab records to find patients who have received duplications of medical care that suggest unnecessary opioid medication use.
- Anthem, the operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states, is identifying at-risk members who have filled five or more controlled substance prescriptions and visited three or more providers for their prescriptions. These members will be assigned a single pharmacy to monitor their medication orders.
While these precautions may create a bit of an inconvenience for people who have a legitimate medical need for prescription opioids, they are becoming necessary to protect the public good. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, 18,893 overdose deaths were attributed to prescription pain relievers in 2014, while only 10,574 overdose deaths were related to heroin. Teens had particularly high rates of addiction since they were most likely to mistakenly view prescription drugs as “safer” than illegal drugs.
Getting Treatment for Prescription Opioid Addiction
Restricting access to drugs with a potential for harm protects people from the suffering caused by substance abuse. However, it’s only one small part of the puzzle. Those who are currently struggling with addiction need evidence-based treatment administered by credentialed professionals.
10 Acre Ranch is a men’s California rehab offering a wide range of addiction treatment options: individual and group therapy, stress management, disease education, and relapse prevention. Each piece of our program is designed to meet the unique needs of men with substance abuse disorders. To learn more or begin the admissions process, complete our confidential contact form today.