Health insurance companies can play a central role in limiting the harm of opioids, according to a 2017 white paper by the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership (HFPP). In “Healthcare Payer Strategies to Reduce the Harms of Opioids,” the HFPP encourages appropriate care and prescribing practices for patients; identifying and eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse within the healthcare system; and supporting dissemination of information about effective opioid misuse strategies. The HFPP is a voluntary collaboration among major health insurance companies, the Department of Health and Human Services, and several state-level agencies concerned with Medicaid fraud.
The white paper describes 5 “specific actions that should be strongly considered for implementation by all payers as soon as possible.”1 Detailed examples and potential strategies for each action are included. The recommended actions are:
“The HFPP strongly supports and promotes collective and coordinated action to combat the crisis of negative health consequences that result from the intended and unintended misuse of prescription opioids,” the authors conclude. “The consequences of inaction on this issue are dire in terms of public health impact and increased medical costs…These priority actions should be strongly considered for implementation.”
1Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership. Healthcare Payer Strategies to Reduce the Harms of Opioids. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 2017. https://hfpp.cms.gov/news/hfpp-opioid-whitepaper.pdf