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Health & Science

Insurers Recommend Fixes to Ohio's Opioid Epidemic

photo of opioid pills and bottles
A new set of recommendations for prevention, intervention and treatment were released today.

A task force of eight health insurers convened by the Ohio Attorney General’s office has come up with 15 recommendations on how they can help with Ohio’s deadly opioid crisis. Their list includes proposals on prevention, intervention and treatment of opioid addiction.

Some proposals, such as assigning care managers to patients and covering non-drug alternative therapies like massage, could be costly for health plans covering vulnerable people such as Medicaid recipients -- who are twice as likely to receive opioid prescriptions as those not on Medicaid. 

Many plans are already doing some of these things, says Mario San Bartolome, the medical director for substance abuse disorders for Molina Healthcare.

“These people with this disease matter just like anybody else with cancer, diabetes, hypertension. And it actually makes financial sense to take care of this in comprehensive, integrated type of approach,” Bartolome said.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says the recommendations aren’t mandates, but he’s prepared to call out insurers that don’t incorporate them.