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A Look at How the Opioid Crisis Has Affected People with Employer Coverage

A new Kaiser Family Foundation brief and chart collection tracks the impact of the opioid epidemic on people with employer-based health coverage.

While the use of prescription opioids among people with private insurance has declined to its lowest levels in over a decade, the cost of treating addiction and overdoses has increased by more than eight-fold since 2004, from $0.3 billion dollars to $2.6 billion in 2016. Among people with an inpatient episode, the average inpatient expenses for opioid addiction treatment totaled $16,104 per year in 2016, up from $5,809 in 2004.

The analysis draws on a sample of health benefit claims from the Truven MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database, and is part of the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.