To keep on top of healthcare trends, Blue Cross Blue Shield uses advanced data analytics to look for patterns among the millions of Americans covered by the company’s health insurance plans. In 2016, one study unearthed two startling facts. While the number of individuals suffering with opioid substance use disorder in the U.S. had shot up 493% in the seven previous years, the number of treatment facilities using MAT (medically assisted treatment)—widely considered the most effective way to combat addiction—rose by just 65%. To help close that vast gap, Blue Cross is launching new treatment centers, called Blue Distinction Centers, beginning in locations across the country that have been hit hardest by the opioid crisis.
In addition, the company offers specialized training to doctors struggling to treat a surge of opioid-addicted patients. Emergency rooms often discharge overdose patients without a follow-up treatment plan, so Blue Cross is also training ER staffers around the U.S. in steering people toward the help they need. Next, to make opioid-addiction treatment programs easier to find, Blue Cross plans to start a national toll-free hotline.