At a time when the nation is struggling to combat the drug crisis, the increasing cost of providing health care seems to be adding fuel to the fire. A recent study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that the amount spent by employers for opioid addiction and overdoses care has soared in the last decade. According to the report, large employers spent a record $2.6 billion in 2016, which is almost a nine-fold increase from the cost incurred in 2004. Quoting such expenditure as an additional burden of $26 per enrollee on the companies and the workers, the report also highlighted that more than half of the money was spent on treating the children of the employees.
The above conclusion was drawn after analyzing the insurance claims submitted by employers with more than 1,000 workers. However, what came as a surprise was the fact that during the last decade, employers have been limiting insurance coverage of opioids because of their concerns about addiction. Further, the money spent on prescription opioids in 2016 was found to be 27 percent lesser than the amount spent in 2009.
Rising health care cost key contributor
The inability of employees to take care of such expenses through their minimum-wage paychecks is forcing them to bear the growing costs. Some reports even state that the increase in premiums surpass the rises in wages and inflation. This was corroborated by a Marketplace report which said that a few companies will raise their health care premiums by as much as 50 percent in 2018.
While many insurers cite the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a reason for the increase, others claim to be doing so because of repeated threats from President Donald Trump to stop funding the so-called cost-sharing reductions and payments to insurers that cover such additional costs for some low-income consumers. This has caused a direct impact on the cost, borne by the employers, to take care of their employees and those insured under their health care policies. However, Steve Wojcik of the National Business Group on Health adds an additional perspective on the entire situation. According to him, for every $5 increase, employers typically cover $4 and pass $1 to the workers.
Interestingly, it has been seen that some employers have been asking their employees to pick up the heftier tab. An analysis conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust in 2016, on the costs of coverage over the last decade, showed that the share of health insurance contributed by the workers has increased too. This makes the situation a bigger loss for the employee who is already struggling with low wages and calls for better reforms and provisions to safeguard his/her interests.
Need of the hour
Drug addiction continues to be a menace in spite of several steps taken to combat it. The need of the hour is stricter drug regulation laws as well as far-reaching educational and awareness programs that are both informative and thought-provoking. Further, there is a need to enable people, suffering from drug addiction, in ways that can help them get rid of their habit.
It is also important for the friends and family of the person afflicted with addiction to understand that addiction is a disease. It can only be overcome with the help of a comprehensive treatment program that identifies the root cause and works to resolve it. With the help of detox, therapy and self-care, attaining a successful recovery from drug addiction is possible.
If you or your loved one has an addiction to any substance of abuse, contact Sovereign Health’s detox facilities in California. A detox program can initiate recovery in a healthy manner by ridding the drug user’s body of all the toxins accumulated with long-term use. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-682-0103 or chat online with our treatment advisors for further details about our rapid detox centers in California.