Blue Cross and Blue Shield of AL combating opioid epidemic with new strategy

Blue Cross Blue Shield battling opioid epidemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The largest health insurance provider in the state is making some important changes that could impact you starting the first of next year.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is updating its opioid management strategy to combat the opioid epidemic.

If you’re a member and are taking 300 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) for 6 months or more, it’s going to require a closer look and a prior authorization from your doctor.

Physicians are now being notified of patients who may be affected by this change, which will go into effect January 1.

“Alabama is first in the nation not only in football, but also in the amount of opiate prescriptions written per capita,” said Dr. Darrel Weaver, Vice President of Healthcare Network Services. “So based on our size here, we not only have the ability, but we have the responsibility to do what we can to help our members and the citizens of the state be healthier.”

Dr. Weaver said higher doses of opioids are associated with a higher risk for overdose and death.

Depending on how next year goes, Dr. Weaver said the dosage threshold will drop.

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