Three Firms Bring Opioid Epidemic to the Forefront, Call on Insurers to Make a Difference

Michelle Ammirati by on Jul 14, 2016

opioid use

With recent National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports finding drug misuse and addiction to painkillers at epidemic levels, health insurers can make a difference in the lives of their members by providing information and resources on treatment and preventative care. While not all providers have formally addressed the issue yet, in the past month, three Healthcare Monitor coverage group firms—BCBS of Massachusetts, Cigna and Kaiser-Permanente—are on the forefront of change, highlighting opioid addiction and abuse by promoting help and resources on their sites, as reported in our May Healthcare Update.

BCBS of Massachusetts provides a comprehensive Opioid Crisis page with a banner video featuring people, their families and medical professionals speaking about recovering from addiction. Below the video, the firm includes four blue headings that expand to reveal more information on the issue, including a basic background on opioids, connections to social media channels focused on outreach and resources on the issue, a spotlight on Drug Take-Back Day and information on how the firm contributes to ending the epidemic. These informational modules, in addition to the firm’s related articles and quizzes, help BCBS of Massachusetts position itself as the leading coverage group plan for drug abuse resources.

testingsomethingBCBS of Massachusetts Opioid Crisis Page

Cigna released three press releases month in May addressing substance abuse in America. The first release promoted a forum co-sponsored with The Washington Post discussing addiction and mental illness and linked to the event info and a livestream of the event. In Cigna’s second press release related to the drug epidemic, the firm announced a collaboration with the American Society of Addiction Medicine to help improve substance use disorder treatment. Cigna’s last press release outlined the firm’s commitment to substance abuse prevention and treatment, including the following goals: help reduce client opioid use, encourage rapid adoption of the CDC guidelines on usage, limit painkiller quantity, treat substance use as a chronic disease, heighten awareness and call on the rest of the health insurance industry to join the firm.

Kaiser-Permanente took a similar approach to Cigna, releasing an article that highlighted how Kaiser-Permanente of Southern California will reduce the number of opioid dosages prescribed at its hospitals, including by preventing patients from being on painkillers for more than three months.

To continue raising awareness about the opioid abuse epidemic, firms that have not contributed to the conversation should consider adding resources to address it, and those that have must continue to update and refine their literature to ensure clients have access to the best information on prevention and treatment available.

About The Author

Michelle Ammirati

Michelle is an Analyst for Healthcare Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more