The opioid crisis being faced around the world and in America is having a giant ripple effect. From the addicts themselves to their families, to treatment centers to the government, and to insurance companies. New studies find that the economic ripple effect is as dramatic as the familial ripple effect. Not only is the opioid epidemic costing America tens of thousands of lives and counting, it is costing insurance companies hundreds of millions of dollars and rising.
Compensating for the sudden surge in need for addiction treatment has been difficult for insurance companies. The Mental Health Parity Act sought to treat addiction as a mental health disorder no different from anything else, forcing insurance companies to pay up. Pay up, they have. New reports reveal that within the last four years insurance companies have spent thirteen times the amount of money on diagnoses of opioid dependence and abuse.
Included in insurance company payments for opioid addiction treatment are: hospitals, treatment centers, laboratories, and medical providers which might include therapists. The number raised from just $32 million to $446 million.
Caring for mental health is expensive when accounting for various doctors, routine visits, holistic health care appointments (often paid for by insurance) and medications. An average person costs just under $3500 a year. An average person diagnosed with opioid dependence or opioid abuse costs just under $20,000 a year. That cost is due to the insurers.
Though the rise in cost and expenditure is taxing on insurance companies it is of great benefit to the addicts they are ensuring. A drastic rise in spending on treatment on behalf of insurance companies means more people are going to treatment. Thankfully, the opioid epidemic has been receiving a wealth of media attention. At the same time, treatment centers are making money and are able to spend more money on marketing and advertising. As a result, more people are making their way into recovery via treatment.