Attorney General DeWine Forms Insurer Task Force Regarding Opioid Abuse

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that he is forming a new task force to foster discussion on how health insurance companies in Ohio can help combat the opioid epidemic. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Insurer Taskforce on Opioid Reduction will meet on on Wednesday, October 4th, at 10:00 a.m. at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 150 East Gay Street, 18th Floor, in Columbus.

“The financial burden of the opioid epidemic has costs which are paid by health insurance subscribers and taxpayers alike,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Because fighting this problem requires a multifaceted approach, insurers are important partners in addressing the opioid epidemic.”

The Ohio Department of Medicaid reports that in 2016, the State of Ohio spent more than $939 million on the opioid crisis and that Medicaid drug addiction and behavioral health services accounted for 70 percent of that cost.  Private insurers also saw an increased financial burden.  A report published by FAIR Health found that private insurance claims in Ohio involving opioid dependence-related diagnoses increased 770 percent from 2007 to 2014.

The task force will examine topics including, but not limited to:

  • Exploring coverage options to reduce patient reliance on opioids.
  • Analyzing prescription claims data to identify members at high risk for opioid abuse.
  • Creating pharmacy or provider “lock-in” programs for members at high risk for opioid abuse.
  • Evaluating the medical necessity of pre-authorizations for buprenorphine and other medications utilized in medication assisted treatment (MAT).
  • Adopting guidelines that reduce the number of opioid prescriptions while still ensuring that patients receive safe and effective pain management.

The task force will consist of representatives from the following health insurers, which represent the vast majority of health insurance coverage offered in Ohio:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • Buckeye Health Plan
  • CareSource
  • Medical Mutual
  • Molina
  • Paramount
  • United Healthcare

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