Features, Health and Safety, New York

The opioid epidemic, and what plan sponsors can do about it

March 22, 2018

By Pamela Hobbs

Pain is a real issue that affects millions of people. One in every four Americans will experience an episode of debilitating pain.

Somehow, opioids have become our go-to treatment for acute pain. The United States represents only 5% of the global population, yet we consume 80% of the world’s opioids. Do we really experience more pain than all other countries? Clearly, something is wrong.

While alleviating the discomfort associated with pain, opioids can also lead to dependence within just a few weeks of use. Like any medication, opioids are not without side effects. They can lead to significant medical conditions such as respiratory depression, infertility, immunosuppression, COPD, and depression – not to mention unintentional overdose. It’s no wonder the opioid epidemic has been declared a national crisis.

Recently we held a sold-out webinar, What Can the Workplace Do to Fight the Opioid Epidemic?, which shows that labor plan sponsors are among those “feeling the pain” caused by opioid use and perhaps more so, abuse.

In addition to the personal tragedies that affect too many families, opioids for the treatment of pain also impose a heavy financial burden – on the people who take them, and on the health plan, too. Opioid use contributes to absenteeism and loss of productivity. It’s also estimated that opioid use costs plan sponsors an additional $8,600/year in health care spend per member as compared to health plan members who don’t use opioids.

Clearly, we have to find solutions to address the opioid epidemic. That’s why MagnaCare has designed a new Opioid Oversight Program to better control the use of opioids among your plan members. Our clinical team works with Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) and other stakeholders to ward off opioid addiction with newly prescribed members, and to wean persistent users from opioids. Through this program, plan sponsors can reduce medical and pharmacy costs, and help their members get healthier.

Contact me or your MagnaCare account manager about implementing the program for your plan.

Pamela Hobbs is Vice President of Product Development at MagnaCare, powered by Brighton Health Plan Solutions (BHPS), an innovative health care enablement company with several industry-leading products for labor and the public sector.

 

 

March 22, 2018

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