Opioid prescriptions down nearly 12% among Cigna policyholders

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Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna said opioid prescriptions for its members have decreased about 12 percent in the past year.

As a result, the insurer is roughly halfway to reaching its goal of decreasing opioid prescriptions by 25 percent by 2019. To date, 158 medical groups representing almost 62,000 physicians have joined Cigna's initiative to curb opioid prescribing.

Cigna said it analyzes medical and pharmacy claims to identify possible opioid misuse. It also notifies its partner physicians if their opioid prescription patterns don't align with CDC guidelines.

Beginning July 1, the insurer will also require prior authorization for new long-acting opioid prescriptions not prescribed for cancer, sickle cell disease or hospice care patients. In addition, the majority of new prescriptions for short-acting opioids will face quantity limits. 

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