“In this report, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), in collaboration with Blue Health Intelligence (BHI), examines opioid prescription rates, opioid use patterns and opioid use disorder among commercially insured Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) members (excluding members diagnosed with cancer or who were undergoing palliative or hospice care). In 2017, BCBSA released a report illustrating the impact of opioid use and opioid use disorder on the health of Americans. This analysis examines progress towards preventing inappropriate prescription opioid use.
- Nationally, the total number of opioid medications filled by commercially insured BCBS members has declined by 29 percent since 2013, with significant variation among states. Thirty-four states had higher reductions, with Massachusetts leading at 51 percent.
- In 2017, 67 percent of BCBS members filled their first opioid prescription within the CDC-recommended guidelines for both dose and duration. Some states did significantly better than the average, led by Rhode Island at 80 percent, Mississippi at 74 percent and Vermont and Massachusetts at 73 percent.
- When examining total opioid prescriptions for BCBS members in 2017, not just the first prescription, 45 percent of members filled prescriptions within the CDC-recommended dose and duration guidelines, up from 39 percent in 2013.
- In 2016, opioid use disorder claims stabilized, with 6.2 in 1,000 BCBS members diagnosed. The rate dipped slightly to 5.9 in 1,000 members in 2017.
Source: Blue Cross Blue Shield – July 12, 2018