Health insurance claims for people hooked on prescription painkillers and heroin skyrocketed as the number of Americans who fatally overdosed on those opioids hit record highs, a new analysis reveals.
The number of private health insurance claims related to opioid dependence diagnosis soared by 3,204 percent from 2007 to 2014, the analysis found. The same analysis by Fair Health also found other disturbingly sharp spikes upward in the number of private insurance claims related to opioid abuse, drug dependence by pregnant women and heroin overdoses since 2011. Opioid-Related Insurance Claims Rose More Than 3,000 Percent
“The United States is in the midst of an epidemic of opioid dependence, abuse and overdose,” notes the analysis by Fair Health, a nonprofit group that focuses on transparency in health-care costs and health insurance information. The group also pointed out that “unlike earlier opioid abuse epidemics, the present crisis is disproportionately affecting white, middle-class people in nonurban settings, including those with private health insurance.”
The more than 3,000 percent increase, from 2007 to 2014, for opioid dependence, relates to people with symptoms that include needing to take more prescription painkillers or heroin to achieve the same effect, withdrawal, “and repeated unsuccessful efforts to quit,” Fair Health noted. The vast majority of such claims, 69 percent, came from adults between the age of 19 and 35. And overdoses related to heroin rose 530 percent, the analysis found. The overwhelming majority of heroin overdoses occurred among people between the ages of 19 and 35. (Source: www.cnbc.com)