Aetna puts off co-pay for drug overdose to fight opioid crisis

Aetna Inc., a U.S. based firm providing healthcare insurance, has announced that it will waive the anti-opioid drug overdose co-pays in a bid to combat against the opioid crisis across the U.S. According to authentic sources, next year the firm will relinquish the co-pay on Narcan, an opiate antidote that has the ability to negate opioid overdose effects. With Narcan easily available over the counter in most of the U.S. states, healthcare service providers have been observed to prescribe the medicine for patients diagnosed for drug overdose. Through the co-pay waiver, the insurer will help the patients avail the necessary treatments for overdose, say sources.

The chief medical officer of Aetna has apparently affirmed the firm’s commitment towards effectively handling opioid overdose issues. According to the company, its customers pay nearly between USD 30 and USD 40 for Narcan though the latter’s co-pay range from USD 0 to USD 150. Sources have claimed that the waived co-pay is applicable to only those members of Aetna who are insured for healthcare through their employers. But those employees whose employer opted for the firm’s administrative services are not eligible for co-pay waiver for the opioid drug overdose.

It has been anticipated that Aetna will reduce the weekly supply of opioid drugs prescribed for acute pain or for patients who have undergone surgery, to commercial pharmacies. It is anticipated that the reduction in the opioid drug supply will come into effect from 1st January 2018. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in 2016, it was anticipated that the deaths occurring due to drug overdose amounted to nearly 64,000 with most of the deaths caused as a result of opioid.

With the present U.S. President announcing opioid pandemic as a public health emergency, many of the health insurance providers in the U.S. such as Aetna have taken proactive measures such as carrying out drug awareness campaigns to reduce the number of death occurrences as a result of drug overdose, claim reports.