Florida Blue to stop covering OxyContin

FORT MYERS, Fla. Florida’s largest insurer will stop covering OxyContin prescriptions in an effort to curb opioid abuse.

Florida Blue will instead cover an alternative oxycodone-based pain killer, Xtampza ER, that is less easily crushed, snorted or injected, the company said.

The change takes effect Jan. 1 and applies to all Florida Blue individual and group plans. Medicare Advantage plans are excluded.

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Federal officials call opioid abuse a national opioid overdose epidemic, and Gov. Rick Scott has declared a statewide public health emergency, prompting Florida Blue to make the move, according to Scott McClelland, Florida Blue’s vice president of commercial and specialty pharmacy.

“Most physicians, most plans have had a hands-off approach for a number of years, and we see where we are now,” McClelland told the Miami Herald. “We think it’s time for more people, including physicians in our community, the nurses, even the families to take a more proactive approach in trying to manage this epidemic.”

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