Since the late 1990s, the United States has seen a dramatic rise in the use and misuse of opioids, with record numbers of addictions and overdoses. Tragically, opioid overdoses continue to be an issue in our region and across the country, leading to what we now know as the opioid epidemic.
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) recognizes the devastating effects this crisis has had on people and families in our region and the community. We are committed to fighting the opioid epidemic using a multi-pronged approach. One way we are fighting the opioid crisis is by removing the cost for members for a lifesaving drug used to treat people who have overdosed on opioids.
Putting Members First
As part of these efforts, Independence is proud to announce that in 2022 it will continue to offer the opioid-reversal drug Narcan® (and the generic naloxone) at no cost* to our members who have prescription drug benefits through Independence. Narcan/Naloxone works by blocking the effects of opioids, and, in turn, can reverse an opioid overdose when administered in time.
Since the $0 cost-share program was introduced in 2018, Independence has seen an almost 400 percent increase in Narcan prescriptions.
By renewing the program for 2022, Independence can offer members access to this lifesaving medication to help people survive an overdose and get treatment if needed.
Learn more about how Independence is fighting the opioid epidemic.
Additional Plan Benefits
To further support our members through this growing crisis, Independence has implemented several opioid utilization safeguards. These can help prevent opioid abuse and offer access to a variety of non‑opioid treatment options for members who need pain management, including:
Multiple non-opioid medications without prior authorization
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Anti-convulsants (used for neuropathic pain)
- Intra-articular corticosteroids injections
- Implantable spinal stimulators
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Chiropractic services
Health Coaches Are Available
As an added level of support, our Registered Nurse Health Coaches can help members find appropriate, covered treatment options. Members should consult their primary care physician on how best to meet their unique pain management needs.
Independence members can learn more about their treatment options or pharmacy benefits by calling the Customer Service and Pharmacy Benefits numbers on the back of their member ID card.
Looking to the Future
We will continue to monitor the progress of all our programs, emerging trends, and the regulatory environment to map our course beyond 2022. Together, we can help bring an end to the opioid crisis, and we are proud to do our part.*Where applicable, deductibles apply. In Pennsylvania, we will only apply deductibles in qualified high deductible health plans. Self-funded customers are not required to participate in the program.