The state of Utah just passed House Bill 90, which allows insurers to write opioid prescribing policies based on evidence-based medicine and guidelines. This includes insurance companies who provide workers’ compensation coverage.
Insurers will have to submit a general description of their policies to the Utah Insurance Department every year, and they can share their policies with each other. The legislation urges insurers to write policies around trying to use non-narcotic treatments to manage chronic pain, making sure patients are not receiving opioids at the same time as certain sedatives that can increase the chance of addiction, trying to avoid turning short-term opioid use into long-term dependence, and looking into treating people for their addictions.
The bill was sponsored by Representative Raymond Ward and originally intended to make it mandatory for insurers to have such policies but there was some pushback. Now it is more of a suggestion, though they will have to tell the state if they have such policies or not.
Utah has one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the country. In 2014, six of ten poisoning deaths reported in the state were a result of opioid overdoses.
Read the content of the bill here