BCBS of AL ending OxyContin coverage in 2019

BCBS of AL to stop covering certain opioids

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Major news for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama members: Starting January 1, the health insurer will no longer cover certain opioid prescriptions.

If you’re a member, you’ll no longer be covered for OxyContin prescriptions.

The health insurer told us it’s all in an effort to stop opioid abuse.

Law enforcement said this is news to celebrate.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama no longer covering prescribed OxyContin or oxycodone ER in 2019.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama no longer covering prescribed OxyContin or oxycodone ER in 2019. (Source: WBRC)

“This is a very powerful opiate. We are glad to see that this is changing direction with what is going to be available especially in our communities,” said Shelby County Drug Enforment Task Force Commander Clay Hammac.

Hammac said this news is a step in the right direction when it comes to combating the opioid crisis here in Alabama.

“We do see strong painkillers, strong opioids leading to accidental abuse and unintentional abuse,” he said. “And with that comes addiction and a reckless cycle that can easily follow behind it.”

But now, the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, is hoping to prevent that cycle from starting.

Captain Clay Hammac
Captain Clay Hammac (Source: WBRC)

“This is really about patient safety and it’s about appropriate treatment of chronic pain with the safest possible medications for patients,” said BCBS Senior Medical Director Dr. Anne Schmidt.

Starting January 1, the company will no longer cover OxyContin prescriptions or it’s generic form oxycodone ER.

“We want to make clear that we do cover alternative products that’ll provide long-acting pain relief, the same way that OxyContin provides long-acting pain relief,” Dr. Schmidt.

She said those alternatives are designed to be more difficult to use and abuse.

If you’re a member and you’re currently prescribed OxyContin or oxycodone ER, you should have received a letter in the mail with more information about the alternative medications.

Of course, it’s recommended you speak with you doctor before starting a new medication.

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