“Health insurer spending on treatment for painkiller dependence is on the rise, and proving to be one of several tools needed to curb the epidemic of opioid addiction.
Between 2011 and 2013, insurer spending on buprenorphine — a narcotic used to treat opioid dependence — rose by 38 percent per member per month, according to a study of 12 health plans covering 12 million Americans by the pharmacy benefits manager Prime Therapeutics.
Buprenorphine in combination with a similar drug, naloxone, increased by 124 percent in overall per member per month spending, Prime noted.
Prime researchers found more than 5,000 members in the 12 health plans with one or more buprenorphine treatment claims between January 2012 and December 2013, with nine months as the average length of therapy.
Among the commercial members for one Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurer in the South, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone combination therapies accounted for 74,000 claims between 2012-2013 — with 87 percent of those paid out to the tune of almost $22 million.”
Source: HealthCarePayerNews.com – September 30, 2014