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    In recent years, the opioid crisis has made frequent appearances in news and media stories on nearly every network. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly taken over many of the headlines. However, the opioid addiction crisis is still very much ongoing and presents multiple problems for insurance companies, in addition to the havoc it wreaks on individual lives.

    Individuals and families are often negatively impacted by opioid misuse and addiction, sometimes drastically so. Lives may be ruined because of an opioid addiction and opioid abuse oftentimes results in death. Unfortunately, the crisis doesn’t show any signs of abating in the near future.

    Insurance companies are not immune to the impacts of the opioid crisis and must be intentional about staying aware of recent developments. Claimants who have been injured in automobile accidents or who sustain workplace injuries may be prescribed an opioid to help combat severe pain. This fact presents significant concerns for the insurance company in terms of potential financial impacts.

    In particular, opioid abuse can contribute to increased claim costs. It is imperative that insurance companies do what they can to help mitigate opioid abuse to help save lives and to ensure their ability to serve claimants going forward.

    A third-party administrator (TPA) can provide significant assistance to insurance companies hoping to curb the abuse of opioids among claimants. Northwood in particular is a TPA that is committed to helping mitigate this crisis in a variety of ways.

    For instance, Northwood implements a pre-authorization process for auto no-fault and workers’ compensation claims for all of the insurance companies it partners with. By providing authorization ahead of time, Northwood ensures that all physician-prescribed services and medications are reviewed before ever even reaching the claimant. This process also helps to confirm that any medication prescribed within the claim is injury-related and an appropriate prescription for the claimant’s particular injuries.

    An additional step that Northwood has chosen to take to combat opioid abuse is to monitor prescription refills. This, too, helps make sure claimants are receiving appropriate medication in relation to their injuries. However, it also helps prevent opioid misuse because refill attempts that occur too often are flagged by Northwood. In this instance, the refill will not be filled for the claimant until Northwood can determine that the refill is both valid and appropriate for the claimant’s injuries. This process does not delay the claimant’s refill, so you can be assured that your claimants’ experience is not impacted.

    As you can see, Northwood is doing its part to help mitigate opioid misuse and abuse. For help exploring ways that your insurance company can help combat the opioid crisis, please call Rosanne Brugnoni at 586-755-3830 ext. 3771.


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