“Facing a surge in substance abuse claims — partly because more 19- to 26-year-olds have insurance — major insurers are trying to use their leverage to make dramatic changes in the nation’s substance abuse treatment system.
Insurance companies are pushing reforms that include encouraging suboxone-assisted recovery rather than abstinence, limiting pain-pill prescriptions and evaluating treatment programs based on their own outcomes.
While alcohol remains the biggest substance-abuse problem, the proportion of claims that include opioids is climbing steadily, particularly among young adults and teenagers.
Cigna reports that opioid claims went from 20 percent of substance-abuse cases five years ago to 25 to 30 percent today. At Aetna over the last four years, the share of claims for treating drug and alcohol abuse has gone from 15 percent of mental health spending (outside of prescriptions) to 30 percent.”
Source: Hartford Courant – July 11, 2016