By Patrick Kennedy, STAT, December 10, 2019
More than 70,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2017, yet insurers spent only 1% of their total health care dollars on treatment for substance use disorders — a decrease from two years earlier.
This alarming statistic is just one of many in a new report released by Milliman, an independent actuarial firm. The report confirms that insurers have failed to adequately cover lifesaving care even as U.S. life expectancy declined over the past three years, primarily due to overdoses and suicides.
Milliman researchers analyzed five years of insurer claims data from 2013 to 2017 covering 37 million U.S. employees and family members who receive health insurance from their employers. They looked at four categories of treatment — inpatient and outpatient facility services, primary care office visits, and specialist office visits — and compared the level of out-of-network use for behavioral health versus physical health.