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News Brief: Dems seek insurance companies’ assistance to better address opioid crisis

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By Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 News

Washington, D.C. — As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate communities across the nation, Democratic health leaders in the House of Representatives have requested that insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage and Part D plans provide information that will help legislators more fully understand the scope of the crisis and more effectively address the epidemic. Committee on Ways and Means ranking member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, and Committee on Energy and Commerce ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-New Jersey, sent a letter to 14 companies asking for details regarding the challenges plans face and their efforts to address the epidemic. While the letter targets specific companies that have been active and leading in this space, the members welcome comments from any plans that would like to contribute to the discussion about the opioid crisis. Given companies’ experience on the front lines of working with beneficiaries, their suggestions for best practices to share and barriers to address will offer valuable insights as Congress tackles the health emergency.

Specific questions the members posed to the companies include:

  • Are certain problems related to the epidemic (e.g., overprescribing) more prevalent in certain states?
  • What types of barriers do you experience to addressing the epidemic in the Medicare population effectively?
  • How does your plan identify and manage overprescribing? How does your plan identify appropriate and inappropriate opioid prescriptions?
  • How do you engage patients on opioid use and misuse?
  • What strategies do you engage in to coordinate care for individuals with opioid-use disorders, or those who potentially use inappropriate amounts of opioids?
  • How do you evaluate the success or impact of initiatives undertaken to address opioid misuse?

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