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The New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) today urged the Senate Commerce Committee to reject legislation requiring health insurance plans to cover opioid analgesic drugs with abuse-deterrent properties.

“As well-meaning as this bill is, we still need to consider the cost and the ability of both employers and individuals to be able to afford the health insurance plans and the prescription drug plans they need, not just for opioids, but for all medications,” said NJBIA Vice President Mary Beaumont.

Abuse-deterrent opioid drugs cost almost three times more than opioids without these formulations.

“Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue nationwide, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the high cost of health insurance is a problem that impacts everyone,” Beaumont said. “I urge committee members to take the time to examine both issues more carefully by sending the bill to the Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission for an objective assessment.”

Beaumont noted that in 2015, the cost of health insurance premiums reached $6,365 for single HMO coverage and $18,096 for family coverage in the Northeast, according to the Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits.

“With the cost of health coverage steadily climbing and coverage continually eroding, it is crucial that the impact of all mandates be properly evaluated,” she said.

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