21% of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) commercially insured members filled at least one opioid prescription in the year of 2015, in accordance with a new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). Data also show BCBS members with an opioid use disorder diagnosis spiked 493% over a 7-year study period.
The report, “America’s Opioid Epidemic and Its Effect on the Nation’s Commercially Insured Population,” represents a comprehensive study of medical claims from BCBS members using opioid painkillers, as well as those diagnosed with opioid use disorder over a 7-year period.*
The study also finds that:
“Opioid use disorder is a complex problem, and there is no single approach to solving it,” claimed Dr. Trent Haywood, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSA. “It’ll take a collaborative effort among medical professionals, insurers, employers, communities and all levels of government working together to establish solutions that effectively meet community needs.”
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies around the country identify their responsibility to respond and do their part to deal this terrible crisis,” claimed Kim Holland, vice president of state affairs for BCBSA. “BCBS companies are already undertaking steps to help families and communities address opioid prescription use disorder by forging partnerships with the medical community to promote best practices in prescribing and giving critical education to the public to raise awareness of the risks of opioid prescription use. With more than 106 million members and deep ties to every community in America, we’re uniquely positioned to assist find solutions to this serious problem.”
Previous year BCBSA created the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Workgroup comprising BCBS companies’ top medical, pharmacological, behavioral health, fraud, public health and policy experts to develop suggestions on how to work with others in the health care community to ensure patients who need pain medication are safely getting the right medication, at the right time. The committee recently endorsed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
The BCBS Health Index℠ recognizes substance use disorder as the fifth most impactful condition in affecting the health of commercially insured members in the U.S. For more data about BCBS companies’ local efforts to combat opioid misuse, visit https://bcbs.com/about-us/capabilities-initiatives/addressing-americas-opioid-addiction.
This is the 13th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report® series, collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence, which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care.
For further information, visit www.bcbs.com/healthofamerica.
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