“The latest fighters in the opioid addiction epidemic aren’t addicts-turned-activists, cops or even even addiction counselors. They are health insurance companies.
Cigna, which insures about 14 million Americans, has become the latest major health insurance company to take measures to combat the staggering opioid addiction numbers and deaths, targeting what many feel is feeding the problem: overprescribing of prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.
Companies such as Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield have taken similar measures over the past several years to prevent deaths and keep addiction numbers from going up. It also makes good business sense: One researcher points out that the cost to public and private insurance companies of prescription painkiller abuse, treatment and “diversion” (when patients sell the medication instead of taking it) is an estimated $72.5 billion a year.
And because these insurance companies play a big financial role in health care, they might be able to make some of the most impact, says Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a senior scientist at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.”
Source: WCVB.com – May 19, 2016