Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Monday the state joined a coalition of 37 states and territories directing health insurance companies to examine financial incentives that contribute to the opioid epidemic in Georgia.
“Georgians are witnessing firsthand the devastation that the opioid epidemic has wrought on our state and nation in terms of lives lost and the costs it has imposed on our healthcare system and the broader economy,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “The Office of the Attorney General remains committed to using all tools at its disposal to combat this epidemic and to protect patients suffering from chronic pain as well as addiction. We look forward to this dialogue with the Insurance industry, so that, working together, we can best determine solutions to combat this modern-day plague.”
The attorneys general’s letter was sent to the CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Marilyn Tavenner, which stated the following:
“The unnecessary over-prescription of opioid painkillers is a significant factor contributing to the problem. Although the amount of pain reported by Americans has remained steady since 1999, prescriptions for opioid painkillers have nearly quadrupled over the same timeframe. This four-fold increase in prescriptions has contributed to a commensurate increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths.”
The coalition of states is putting in place a two-step strategy intended to identify problematic policies and encourage reforms to spur increased use of non-opioid alternatives for treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain.
Each state’s legal officer urger insurers to review their coverage and payment policies that create opioid prescribing incentive structures across the insurance industry. Each state hopes to assess the positive and negative impacts incentive structures have on the opioid epidemic.
The coalition of states are as follows:
Attorneys General from West Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia co-sponsored this effort. The following attorneys general also signed the letter: Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.