More people with substance use disorders and mental illness had insurance coverage in 2014 because of the expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new study finds.
Many barriers to treatment remain, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The study found there were no significant increases in use of services to treat substance use disorders or mental illness, HealthDay reports.
“We got more people covered, but we didn’t make dramatic progress in closing the under-treatment gap,” lead researcher Brendan Saloner said in a news release. “We need to find ways to take the next step and ensure people are seeing the providers who can help them.”
The study included data from almost 30,000 adults with mental illness and more than 19,000 with substance use disorders. The researchers compared insurance coverage for two periods: 2011-2013, before the ACA was implemented, and 2014,...
Spending by health insurance companies increased more than 1,300 percent over four years for patients with an opioid abuse or dependence diagnosis, NPR reports.
Spending on insurers’ payments to hospitals, labs, treatment centers and other medical providers for these patients rose from $32 million to $446 million between 2011 and 2015. Insurers spent an average of $3,435 on patients annually, but for those with a diagnosis of opioid dependence or abuse, they spent $19,333.
Much of that spending was due to emergency room visits and lab tests.
The findings come from Fair Health, a nonprofit databank that provides health industry cost information.