Study found that substance abuse increases Medicaid annual medical care costs

A comprehensive study of the Medicaid records of some 150,000 people living in six different states revealed that people suffering from substance abuse disorders caused the said health program hundred of millions every year in medical care. This shows how early intervention of substance abuse can not only improve treatment outcomes but actually save the state a lot of money.

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A researcher of the University of Massachusetts Medical Schools Center for Health Policy noted that substance abuse is costing the Medicaid program more money than it thinks. According to her, their study found that the costs of providing medical care to people with substance abuse concerns are significant. This means that there could be a huge cost saving if prevention or early treatment programs we're started to improve the health of substance abusers.

The study entitled The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Medical Expenditures for Medicaid Beneficiaries with Behavioral Health Disorder, also revealed that as substance abuse patients grew older, their medical care costs increased at a much faster rate than their behavioral health costs. According to the researcher, this suggests that most substance abuse services for the older population are not effective or successful and that substantial savings may be gained by focusing on the said age group.

Specifically, she found that around 29% of Medicaid patients in six states have substance abuse disorders and that these states pay around $104 million more for these patients medical care and around $105.5 million more for their behavioral health care when compared to the payments it made for patients without drug or alcohol dependency problems. Extrapolated to national statistics these extra costs are expected to run hundreds of millions of dollars.

Some of the possible reasons behind these extra costs for older patients with dependency problems are cumulative impact of long-term drug or alcohol dependency, hesitation of addicted adults to seek proper treatment in special facilities, presence of more severe diseases among adults with addiction problems, and the higher probability of illness among older adults, the study explained.

This study was the first of it's kind to examine medical costs that include treatment for diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease of people suffering from substance abuse disorders.

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Posted in Transportation/Automotive Post Date 12/17/2016