STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Opioid addiction treatments are costing employers billions

The cost of treating opioid addiction among American workers and their families has skyrocketed in recent years, a ne...

Posted: Apr 5, 2018 3:04 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2018 3:04 PM

The cost of treating opioid addiction among American workers and their families has skyrocketed in recent years, a new study has found.

People covered by employer health insurance received $2.6 billion worth of treatment for opioid addiction and overdoses in 2016, up from $273 million in 2004, according to a report published Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Some $2.3 billion was covered by insurance, while patients shelled out $335 million.

Just over half the spending was for the treatment of workers' children, while just under a third was for the employee themselves. The rest covered spouses' treatment.

The report provides yet another data point on the toll opioids are taking on American life. The Trump administration, lawmakers, governors and many others are looking for ways to curb the epidemic. The head of the US Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, told CNN's Sanjay Gupta Wednesday that doctors should undergo mandatory training on pain management and the prescribing of painkillers. Also, Congress has held numerous hearings and introduced legislation hoping to address the problem.

Related: This is how lawmakers plan to end the opioid crisis

Roughly $1.3 billion was spent on outpatient treatment in 2016, with the average expense coming in at $4,700, according to Kaiser. Employees footed $670 of that bill.

Some $911 million went toward inpatient care, which cost $16,100 on average. Workers were responsible for a little more than $1,600. Prescription drugs used for treatment cost $435 million.

These figures include only payments for treatment covered at least in part by insurance, not services that are fully paid for out-of-pocket and not billed to insurance. So it's likely the full cost of treatment is even higher, Kaiser notes. The report analyzed claims from employers with more than 1,000 workers.

The spending spike on opioid treatment comes even as the use of painkillers has declined.

Related: Opioid crisis fast facts

In 2016, only 13.6% of enrollees had a opioid prescription, down from a peak of 17.3% in 2009 and 15.7% in 2004. Some of the steepest reductions were among people with complications from pregnancy or childbirth, musculoskeletal conditions, cancer and injuries.

People ages 55 to 64 had the highest share of opioid prescriptions, and women were somewhat more likely to have received a painkiller prescription than men. Opioid prescriptions were also more common in the South than in the West or Northeast.

In total, large employers and their enrollees spent $1.4 billion on prescription painkillers in 2016, down 27% from the 2009 peak. Workers paid a total of $263 million for the medications.

West Lafayette
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 66°
Kokomo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 59°
Rensselaer
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 57°
Fowler
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 66°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 62°
Crawfordsville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Frankfort
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Delphi
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Monticello
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 59°
Logansport
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 59°
Clear and Chilly Wednesday, Rain Thursday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 724214

Reported Deaths: 13363
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion989071736
Lake53172962
Allen40223675
Hamilton35354408
St. Joseph35270550
Elkhart28228437
Tippecanoe22297217
Vanderburgh22231396
Porter18560304
Johnson17832376
Hendricks17098313
Clark12897191
Madison12519339
Vigo12379244
Monroe11811168
LaPorte11691210
Delaware10571185
Howard9823215
Kosciusko9347117
Hancock8204139
Bartholomew8036155
Warrick7754155
Floyd7630176
Wayne7002198
Grant6986174
Boone6652101
Morgan6529139
Dubois6139117
Marshall5954111
Dearborn577177
Cass5769105
Henry5671102
Noble555783
Jackson499672
Shelby488196
Lawrence4470120
Gibson433791
Harrison432972
Clinton426353
DeKalb423284
Montgomery423088
Whitley392739
Huntington386380
Steuben381057
Miami379165
Knox370990
Jasper361347
Putnam357760
Wabash352478
Adams340354
Ripley338370
Jefferson328481
White312254
Daviess294399
Wells290281
Decatur282992
Fayette278362
Greene276085
Posey270733
Scott264453
LaGrange263870
Clay258945
Randolph239581
Washington239131
Spencer230431
Jennings228848
Starke213252
Fountain211846
Sullivan210442
Owen195856
Fulton194240
Jay190429
Carroll187820
Perry182537
Orange181854
Rush172625
Vermillion167643
Franklin167235
Tipton161945
Parke145416
Blackford134332
Pike132634
Pulaski115945
Newton106734
Brown101441
Crawford99014
Benton98114
Martin87415
Warren80515
Switzerland7808
Union70610
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events