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Insurance Companies Could Save Money By Funding More Addiction Treatment

posted 06:34 PM EST, Sat June 28, 2008
Insurance Companies Could Save Money By Funding More Addiction Treatment © Photo: J Star

A study out of John Hopkins University suggests that insurance companies could actually save money by providing more coverage for early and aggressive substance abuse treatment.

A new study in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment says that the costs to insurers from untreated drug and alcohol addiction are substantial, and could be reduced by earlier and more aggressive addiction treatment funding.

Patricia Santora, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, looked at admissions to Hopkins University Hospital and found that 14% of all patients from 1994 – 2002 were drug or alcohol abusers suffering medical or psychiatric conditions directly related to their substance abuse. In 2002 alone, these substance abusers racked up hospital costs of 48 million dollars.

48 million dollars, in one year, at a single hospital, and Santora says that similar costs are incurred at hundreds of hospitals around the country each year.

At present, just one percent of private insurance claims deal with addiction treatment. Santora proposes that hospital costs could be reduced substantially through greater early stage funding of conditions related to drug and alcohol abuse.

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