Cigna Will Stop Covering OxyContin in Effort to Reduce Inappropriate Use

Health insurer Cigna announced this week it will stop covering the prescription opioid OxyContin in an effort to reduce inappropriate use of the drug. Instead it will cover an equivalent drug less vulnerable to being misused.

The alternate drug is Xtampza ER, made by Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc. Xtampza ER cannot be made more fast-acting through cutting or crushing, Cigna said. The change will go into effect January 1, 2018, Reuters reports.

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Cigna Will No Longer Require Preauthorization for Opioid Addiction Treatment

The health insurance company Cigna will no longer require doctors to get preauthorization before prescribing opioid addiction medications, USA Today reports. Until now, Cigna has required doctors to submit a preauthorization form when requesting medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine. Doctors had to answer numerous questions about the patient’s current treatment and medication history. In some cases, authorization took several days.

The change in company policy is part of a national settlement announced by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

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Cigna and Addiction Specialists Team Up to Study Which Treatments are Working

The health insurance company Cigna is teaming up with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to study which substance abuse treatments are effective, Forbes reports.

The company will provide two years of medical claims data to ASAM, who will work with health researchers at Brandeis University to test and validate which treatments are working. All patient names have been removed to ensure confidentiality.

The results could be used to develop guidelines for Cigna and other health insurers to establish protocols for doctors and other mental health providers, the article notes.

“When it comes to substance abuse, there are not clear guidelines,” said Dr. William Lopez, Cigna’s Senior Medical Director for Behavioral Health. “Our position is that we want to individualize the treatments and by having some guidelines that are more holistic, we will attain that goal. We want to move from volume to value.”

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