Coalition Pushes Insurance Companies to Better Fund Alternatives to Opioids

Sep 19, 2017

A bipartisan coalition of 37 states and territories are calling on health insurance companies to help find solutions to the nation’s opioid crisis.

West Virginia and Kentucky attorney generals Patrick Morrisey and Andy Beshear announced the coalition in press conference at Marshall University Monday afternoon.

“This is the challenge of our time,” said Andy Beshear to a room or reporters and health experts.

The main goal of the coalition, he said, is to pressure health insurance companies to adopt financial incentives for the prescription of non-opioids pain management techniques such as PT or massage.

“And we are pressing, and I would use the words, pressing, to ultimately change practices,” he said. “To change practices in a way that will lessen the amount of prescription drugs flooding into our communities because ultimately they are the payors. And if they change their incentives to where people don’t make as much for prescribing them or groups don’t provide them as quickly, then we will lessen the number.”

Beshear said the initiative is not intended to combat existing addiction, but rather to begin the development of policy that will prevent future pain patients from becoming addicted themselves.  

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.