Our nation’s lethal opioid epidemic is reaching its tentacles right into our paychecks, as employers face rising health insurance costs that crimp their ability to give pay raises to the rest of us. This is happening even as we are being urged to carry overdose antidotes, just in case.
The independent, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation reported that its new analysis of large employer insurance claims shows that American businesses paid $2.6 billion in 2016 to treat opioid addiction and overdoses by their covered workers and dependents. That compares to $273 million in 2004, so it’s up ten-fold in a decade.
The costs of caring for opioid abuse skyrocketed, even as employer health insurance saw sharp declines in the number and expense for prescriptions and use of powerful painkillers.