Insurance companies can’t deny coverage or raise prices for people who have a prescription for a medicine that reverses opioid overdoses, Colorado’s insurance oversight agency said Friday.

The Colorado Division of Insurance is not aware of any cases where someone has been unfairly treated for a prescription for the drug naloxone, division spokesman Vincent Plymell said. But other states have.

“We thought’d we’d get ahead of this before there’s an issue,” Plymell said.

Naloxone rapidly reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose and for years has been used by paramedics, police officers and other first responders. The Colorado legislature in 2015 passed a law making every resident eligible for a prescription in an attempt to stymie the rise in overdose deaths.

The number of Coloradans who die of an opioid overdose has more than doubled in the past two decades, according to data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. In 2018, 543 Coloradans died of overdoses of prescription and illegal opioids such as heroin.

Insurance companies can take a person’s prescription history into account when deciding coverage and costs but naloxone prescriptions should not be considered because it is more commonly used on someone other than the prescribed party, a bulletin from the Division of Insurance states. Naloxone can either be injected or given as a nasal spray.

“It would negatively affect Colorado’s crucial public health efforts if insurers decline applications, rescind coverage, or charge a person carrying naloxone a higher premium for life insurance, annuity contracts, sickness and accident insurance, and/or disability insurance because the applicant had obtained naloxone to help respond to opioid overdoses,” the bulletin states.

The division asked that anybody who thinks they may have been discriminated against because of a naloxone prescription report it to the agency.

“That’s the best way for us to find out about these things,” Plymell said.

If an investigation finds discrimination, the division can force an insurance company to cover someone or refund money if they were overcharged. Complaints can be filed online, over the phone at 303-894-7490 or via email at DORA_Insurance@state.co.us.