Independence Blue Cross (Independence)has announced that as of March 1, it will eliminate the co-payment for naloxone and Narcan (a brand of naloxone). This is a fast and effective antidote that blocks the symptoms of opioid use and reverses the effects of an overdose caused by painkillers and heroin, as long as it is administered on time.
Independence Blue Cross has explained that this action aims to eliminate barriers to access medication, helping also to save lives and further fighting opioid abuse. Despite the fact that the drug has been widely distributed and used, this is one of the first organizations to modify this policy. According to a report prepared by the City of Philadelphia during a special action to combat the consumption of opioids, Naxalone was administered approximately 4,000 times by firefighters and 200 times by the police during 2016.
This change in patients' access to the drug could save many lives. According to Dr. Richard Snyder, medical director of Independence Blue Cross and member of the special action created to combat this issue, "By removing a financial barrier to access naloxone, we can increase the availability of the drug and, hopefully, save more lives ". " Our hope is that anyone who has problems with opiate addiction can receive adequate treatment for it, but he must be alive to take that step. "
The modification will apply to Independence customers with pharmacy benefits. It will come into force on March 1 for companies that are fully insured and on April 1 for self-financed companies that decide to participate in the program. Those insured who have already reached their deductible will not have a copayment at the pharmacy when they get their prescription. It is important to note that this change does not include coverage of Evzio®, a naloxone auto-injection system.
An issue for Philadelphia
Last year, 1200 people died in Philadelphia due to an overdose, 300 more people than in 2016, according to Philadelphia Department of Public Health records.
For almost 80 years, Independence Blue Cross, the leading health insurance provider in southeast Pennsylvania, has been working to improve the health and well-being of communities. They had also developed different programs in order to prevent and treat opioid abuse. Thanks to their continuous action, the prescription and inappropriate use of opioids among its insured has been reduced by more than 40 percent.