PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced that as of March
Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose when administered in time. This lifesaving drug is available in Pennsylvania without a written prescription due to a statewide standing order from PA Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine in October 2015. In Philadelphia, naloxone has been widely used and distributed. It was administered approximately 4,000 times by the Philadelphia Fire Department and 200 times by Philadelphia police in 2016, according to a report issued last May by the Mayor's Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia.
"By removing a financial barrier to accessing naloxone, we can make the drug more readily available and hopefully save more lives," said Dr. Richard Snyder, chief medical officer for Independence Blue Cross and a member of the Mayor's Task Force. "Our hope is that anyone struggling with opioid addiction can get appropriate treatment, but they have to be alive to take that step."
This change applies to customers with Independence's pharmacy benefits and is effective March 1 for fully insured business and April 1 for self-funded businesses that choose to participate. Members who have already met their deductible would have no copay at the drug store when they get their prescription. The change does not apply to EvzioŪ, a naloxone auto-injection system.
This cost-sharing change applies only to members who are purchasing Narcan for themselves or for a covered member.
Approximately 1,700 people in southeastern Pennsylvania died in 2016 from an opioid overdose, according to local health officials. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health reported that there were 1,200 overdose deaths in Philadelphia alone in 2017, 300 more than in 2016.
Independence is keenly focused on opioid abuse prevention and treatment and its efforts continue to intensify. As a result, inappropriate opioid prescribing and use among members has been reduced by more than 40 percent. Steps taken include:
Visit the Independence website for resources to help support individuals and families dealing with substance abuse and read more about what the Independence Blue Cross Foundation is doing to fight opioid abuse.
About Independence Blue CrossIndependence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve more than 8.3 million people in 23 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For almost 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Contact: Ruth Stoolman 215-241-4807 (office) 215-667--9567 (cell) Ruth.Stoolman@ibx.com
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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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