Economy

Beshear asks health insurance companies to help with opioid crisis

Beshear asks health insurance companies to help with opioid crisis”

"We were in downtown Lexington probably three blocks from the city court", Beshear said.

Beshear told The Daily Independent the attorneys general don't "want to go in with threats" but instead open a dialogue with the insurers, and it would be a "long way down the road" before any type of litigation is considered. "We start how you're supposed to start - asking nicely", said Beshear. "We think there may be some financial incentives or lack thereof that is influencing that referral".

"When you look at coverage and payment policies, you want to make sure that if you're an insurance company that some of the non-opioid alternatives - maybe it's physical therapy - and you look at the duration that physical therapy is going to be covered", Morrisey said. "That's a tangible example". They said the deadliest overdose epidemic in US history is a bipartisan issue. "We've got a lot of people who are out there right now and they need our help".

"All else being equal, providers will often favor those treatment options that are most likely to be compensated, either by the government, an insurance provider, or a patient paying out-of-pocket", wrote the attorneys general.

"There are steps that should be taken before subjecting a young mind to the power of these addictive pills", Beshear said. "Their addiction is not starting from a decision they make to buy drugs on the street".

In the letter, the attorneys general asked insurers to promote non-opioid pain management alternatives that may not be now covered at the same level as prescription opioids - rather than highly-addictive pain pills. "If we can reduce opioid prescriptions and use other forms of pain management treatment, we will slow or even reverse the rate of addiction". That's down from 111.3 per 100 in 2015.

At a press conference in Huntington, W.Va., Beshear joined West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a press conference to promote the bipartisan effort of state law enforcement officials, as their states have been two of the hardest hit by a flood of opioid painkillers being prescribed over the last decade, which has created a base of opioid addicts now moving on to cheaper and more lethal opioids like heroin and fentanyl.

To try and stop this issue of over prescribing, these 38 attorney generals are putting pressure on insurance companies to find non-opioid solutions to pain.

Other attorneys general signing the letter are Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.



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