Estimating the costs of opioid abuse and dependence from an employer perspective: a retrospective analysis using administrative claims data.Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2014 Aug; 12(4):435-46.AH
Opioid abuse and dependence is problematic across many age groups, including the working-age population and their dependents. Little is known, however, about the economic costs of opioid abuse/dependence imposed on employers, who pay for a substantial portion of healthcare costs through their contributions to employer-sponsored health insurance and are also affected by indirect costs such as those due to disability and workplace absenteeism.
To provide a comprehensive, current estimate of the economic burden of prescription opioid abuse/dependence to employers.
Administrative claims from beneficiaries covered by large self-insured companies throughout the USA were used to identify patients, including employees and dependents, who were diagnosed with opioid abuse and/or dependence ('abusers') between 2006 and 2012. Healthcare and work-loss costs for abusers were assessed over a 12-month period and compared with those for patients not diagnosed with abuse ('comparison patients'), using propensity score matching.
7,658 matched pairs of abusers and comparison patients were analysed. Relative to comparison patients, abusers had significantly higher annual healthcare resource utilization, leading to US$10,627 in per-patient incremental annual healthcare costs. Additionally, abusers had US$1,244 in excess annual work-loss costs. Together, this implies an employer burden for diagnosed abuse of US$1.71 per member per month.
Opioid abuse/dependence impose a substantial economic burden on employers.