TGIF

The FEHBlog is out in chilly Minneapolis for a family event. Brr.

Yesterday, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, issued an opioid crisis related advisory, the first Surgeon General advisory since 2005.  The Surgeon General is encouraging wider distribution of naloxone a life saving medicine which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose until EMTs arrive. OPM had a session on this topic at the recent carrier conference. Naloxone is dispensed as a nose spray. The Surgeon General explained that

Naloxone is already carried by many first responders, such as EMTs and police officers. The Surgeon General is now recommending that more individuals, including family, friends and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, also keep the drug on hand.

All states have passed laws to increase access to naloxone and, in most states, you can walk into a pharmacy and request naloxone even if you don’t already have a prescription. In addition, most states have laws designed to protect health care professionals for prescribing and dispensing naloxone from civil and criminal liabilities as well as Good Samaritan laws to protect people who administer naloxone or call for help during an opioid overdose emergency. 

Naloxone is covered by most insurance plans and, for those without coverage, may be available at low or no cost through local public health programs or through retailer and manufacturer discounts. It is easy to use, safe to administer and widely available. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation issued a large employer survey on the opioid crisis. Prescriptions are down significantly but treatment costs are skyrocketing. Here’s a link to a Healthcare Dive report on the KFF report.

Fierce Healthcare reports that CVS Health, which has been holding a client forum this week, “kept price growth at only 0.2% for pharmacy benefit management clients despite 10% inflation, according to a report (PDF) the company released on Thursday. The lower cost growth was due in part to utilizing low-cost generic drugs, which were dispensed to 86% of pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients. ”  Maazal tov.

Employee Benefit News suggests three ways to boost health savings account participation. The best tidbit is to “don’t just talk about HSAs around open enrollment. Reach out consistently, whenever your employees are best primed to care: at the beginning of a new plan year; in March and April when tax savings are front of mind; or after a pay raise or promotion.”

Finally, the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice released today that “a fiscal year (FY) 2017 [which ended September 30, 2017) Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program report showing that for every dollar the federal government spent on healthcare related fraud and abuse investigations in the last three years, the government recovered $4. Additionally, the report shows that the departments’ FY 2017 Takedown event was the single largest healthcare fraud enforcement operation in history.”

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