Methadone maintenance and the cost and utilization of health care among individuals dependent on opioids in a commercial health plan

Dennis McCarty, Nancy A. Perrin, Carla A. Green, Michael R. Polen, Michael C. Leo, Frances Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Few health plans provide maintenance medication for opioid dependence. This study assessed the cost of treating opioid-dependent members in a commercial health plan and the impacts of methadone maintenance on costs of care. Methods: Individuals with diagnoses of opioid dependence (two or more diagnoses per year) and at least 9 months of health plan eligibility each year were extracted from electronic health records for the years 2000 through 2004 (1,518 individuals and 2,523 observations across the study period-some individuals were in multiple years). Analyses examined the patterns and costs of health care for three groups of patients: (1) one or more methadone visits during the year (n= 1,298; 51%); (2) no methadone visits and 0 or 1 visits in the Addiction Medicine Department (n= 370; 15%); (3) no methadone visits and 2 or more visits in addiction medicine (n= 855; 34%). Results: Primary care (86%), emergency department (48%) and inpatient (24%) visits were common. Mean total annual costs to the health plan were $11,200 (2004 dollars) per member per year. The health plan's costs for members receiving methadone maintenance were 50% lower ($7,163) when compared to those with two or more outpatient addiction treatment visits but no methadone ($14,157) and 62% lower than those with one or zero outpatient addiction treatment visits and no methadone treatment ($18,694). Conclusions: Use of opioid maintenance services was associated with lower total costs of care for opioid-dependent members in a commercial health plan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume111
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

Fingerprint

Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Methadone
Health care
Health Care Costs
Opioid Analgesics
Health
Costs
Costs and Cost Analysis
Medicine
Outpatients
Electronic Health Records
Hospital Emergency Service
Inpatients
Primary Health Care
Therapeutics
Maintenance

Keywords

  • Commercial health insurance
  • Cost analysis
  • Health care utilization
  • Methadone maintenance
  • Parity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this

Methadone maintenance and the cost and utilization of health care among individuals dependent on opioids in a commercial health plan. / McCarty, Dennis; Perrin, Nancy A.; Green, Carla A.; Polen, Michael R.; Leo, Michael C.; Lynch, Frances.

In: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Vol. 111, No. 3, 01.10.2010, p. 235-240.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McCarty, Dennis ; Perrin, Nancy A. ; Green, Carla A. ; Polen, Michael R. ; Leo, Michael C. ; Lynch, Frances. / Methadone maintenance and the cost and utilization of health care among individuals dependent on opioids in a commercial health plan. In: Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2010 ; Vol. 111, No. 3. pp. 235-240.
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