An estimated 2.6 million people in the U.S. struggle with opioid dependence.1 Opioids took more than 28,000 lives in 2014 -- more than any other year on record.2 While policy makers have notably shifted their attention to the epidemic by addressing the need for increased government funding and accessibility of overdose medications such as naloxone for emergency workers, many individuals are still struggling to receive the proper care they need. See how nearly 2.6 million Americans with an opioid dependence are reaching recovery.
For individuals facing opioid addiction, one of the first obstacles is selecting a treatment center. There are many treatment options; however, for those considering an opioid treatment program (OTP), the search may prove difficult. Research indicates that treatment centers offering OTPs are scarce throughout the United States.10 OTPs provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for people diagnosed with an opioid-use disorder. There is evidence for the effectiveness of methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone - the three FDA-approved medications used in MAT - when used within a long-term maintenance strategy.9
It can be overwhelming to sort through various treatment options and select a facility, which is why Recovery Brands offers a directory of treatment centers on its flagship site, Rehabs.com. With additional sources such as facility reviews, consumers are able to more easily evaluate their options and make informed and personalized treatment decisions.
Once an individual selects a treatment facility, it’s time to consider how to fund the treatment. Recovery Brands’ proprietary research shows that cost is the number one concern for individuals undergoing treatment.
Recovery Brands’ study also indicates that most individuals heavily rely on forms of insurance - private or government - to offset the cost of care.
The ability to secure long-term care is often a leap forward in an individual’s road to recovery. Recovery Brands’ research found that across all types of addiction, relapse rates only significantly decrease after more than 90 days of treatment. While relapse rates are not the only measure of treatment success, relapse can often pose a large setback in one’s long-term recovery.
The data also revealed that how treatment is funded plays a sizable hand in establishing the length of stay and the subsequent chances for the optimal 90+ days of treatment. Recovery Brands’ study indicates that the majority of people fund their treatment with government or private insurance; however, these forms of funding were the least likely to cover 90+ days of treatment compared to other forms of payment such as self-pay or family support.
For those facing opioid dependence, it’s likely that they will obtain funding through government insurance programs. Research shows the opioid epidemic hit low-income, rural areas; these individuals typically rely on programs like Medicaid to cover their health care costs.3
As shown previously, government insurance only covers 90+ days of treatment 19 percent of the time, potentially decreasing chances for positive relapse rates. It also presents additional challenges, specifically for individuals considering an OTP: Medicaid patients will oftentimes need to hurdle many obstacles before they are approved for an opioid treatment program.
Medicaid patients must work through complex authorization processes that can take days or even weeks.4
In many cases, Medicaid programs require documentation that less cost-intensive therapies were attempted before admission to an opioid treatment program.5
Once admitted, patients face limits for prescribed substitution drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine. While research reveals that these medications are effective with long-term maintenance, Medicaid patients will likely face refill limits that do not meet their needs for long-term care.6
"I told the doctor, 'I am a recovering addict, I can not take pain killers,' but he gave me Percocet. That woke up my addiction…I went to outpatient rehab...At the time I had private insurance, but they didn't accept that. They only accepted Medicaid. So I had to pay out of pocket."
The process of finding and receiving treatment is difficult for anyone; however, it is evident that additional obstacles exist for those who are suffering with an opioid dependence including limits to OTP availability and obstacles in obtaining OTP funding through Medicaid. Given the epidemic our nation is currently experiencing, it is critical that we continue to move forward with policies and initiatives that increase access to quality care. Strides with the Affordable Care Act7 to require health insurers to cover costs associated with substance use disorders, or with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act8 to increase government funding for opioid-specific treatment, are encouraging steps in the right direction. By examining the recovery journey at an individual level, we can gain a new perspective on how insurers and policy makers can work together to make treatment options and quality care more accessible.
There is hope for a new beginning and a full life in recovery. At Recovery Brands, we help thousands of individuals struggling with addiction make informed decisions about their care. Our portfolio of authority websites, including Rehabs.com and Recovery.org, have supported countless families in pursuing the life-saving path of recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, click below to visit Rehabs.com.
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the Rehabs.com help line is a private and convenient solution. Caring advisors are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options.
Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered between the hours of 5:00am and 9:00pm Pacific by American Addiction Centers (AAC) and outside of those hours by one of our paid treatment center sponsors.
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