Health Politics

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is joining dozens of other attorneys general to urge health insurers to review their policies for pain management treatment, in an effort to spark higher use of alternatives to opioid prescriptions.

Beshear and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey Monday announced the bipartisan coalition’s efforts in the ongoing fight to end opioid addiction.

Beshear said that the coalition wants health insurers to avoid contributing unintentionally to the deadly problem.

“I think they agree that they have the obligation,” said Beshear. “This is us pushing them to look at this area as one way that they can make changes and make a difference.”

Beshear and Morrisey made the announcement in West Virginia, which has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States — more than twice the national average.

Morrisey said they’re not pointing fingers at insurers, but they are trying to start a dialogue.

“We know that some insurers and companies have led in this area, and we applaud those who have,” Morrisey said. “At the same time, we know that some have lagged behind. We want to make sure that every single company takes a look at what they’re doing, and ultimately then do the right thing, so we don’t continue to perpetuate the problem with over-prescription.”

Attorneys general from 35 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia sent a letter to insurers, asking them to take a closer look at their prescription policies.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."