Last week, North Carolina Health News reported that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced changes to its opioid prescription policies, in part because the company said it still processes thousands of prescriptions each month that violate limits enacted by the state legislature in 2017.

Blue Cross will limit first-time prescriptions of short-acting opioids to seven days. First-time prescriptions for long-acting opioids will require pre-authorization. And the company said it would start to cover Sublocade, an injectable form of buprenorphine used for the treatment of opioid addiction.

The new policies will affect the company’s fully insured customers, about 1.5 million people. It will not affect people covered by the State Health Plan, the Federal Employee Program, Medicare Part D plans or self-funded employer groups that use a different company to administer pharmaceutical benefits. Blue Cross is the state’s largest health insurer.

“The policies we’re announcing are the latest in a series of efforts from Blue Cross NC that will help prevent opioid addiction, treat opioid dependency, and save lives.” ~Dr. Rahul Rajkumar, BCBSNC Chief Medical Officer

 

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