Insurers launch campaign against painkiller scams

Published May 15, 2018 at 4:00pm

ALBANY — Insurers have begun a statewide outreach campaign to alert New Yorkers how to avoid falling victim to dishonest medical providers and painkiller prescription drug scams.

The campaign by the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud says that addiction and overdoses from prescription painkillers have reached dangerous levels and illicit profits from painkiller scams are placing unneeded pills into vulnerable New Yorkers’ hands.

The alliance is targeting major cities across the state with television ads, radio spots, billboards and social media with the theme “painkiller fraud is a prescription for tragedy.”

“Who thought these small pills could almost destroy my life,” a drug victim asks in an NYAAIF television spot. “I went from killing pain to almost killing myself. What I didn’t know was insurance fraud made getting these drugs easier.”

The alliance urges residents to be on the lookout for pharmacies that fill prescriptions for fewer than the number of days or pills listed on the prescription. The also warn to avoid insurance scams that traffic in pain pills. The tempting lure of profits disappears when you’re arrested and jailed, NYAAIF’s campaign warns.

For residents who are legitimately in need of the pain medication, they should use pain pills only how their doctor advises and lock the pills in a cabinet at home, the alliance says.

Painkiller fraud costs consumers plus auto, workers comp and health insurers tens of millions of dollars each year in New York, the alliance said. “It’s a very personal issue. This a very human, human problem with somebody getting overprescribed,” NYAAIF chair Jim Potts says in the podcast “That’s just a terrible, terrible way to become an addict.”

NYAAIF is an alliance of more than 100 insurers in New York that have come together, they say, to educate consumers in the state about insurance fraud and its impact in New York.