Outpatient care for opioid use disorder among the commercially insured: Use of medication and psychosocial treatment


Alisa B Busch, Shelly F Greenfield, Sharon Reif, Sharon-Lise T Normand, and Haiden A Huskamp. 2020. “Outpatient care for opioid use disorder among the commercially insured: Use of medication and psychosocial treatment.” J Subst Abuse Treat, 115, Pp. 108040.


BACKGROUND: Evidence-based outpatient treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) consists of medications that treat OUD (MOUD) and psychosocial treatments (e.g., psychotherapy or counseling, case management). Prior studies have not examined the use of these components of care in a commercially insured population. METHODS: We analyzed claims data from a large national commercial insurer of enrollees age 17-64 identified with OUD (2008-2016, N = 87,877 persons and 122,708 person-years). Multinomial logistic regression models identified factors associated with receiving in a given year: 1) both MOUD and psychosocial visits, 2) MOUD without psychosocial visits, 3) psychosocial visits without MOUD, or 4) neither. We estimated predicted probabilities for key variables of interest. RESULTS: Identification of OUD nearly tripled during the observation period (0.17% in 2008, 0.45% in 2016). Among person-years identified as having OUD, 36.3% included MOUD (8.1% both MOUD and psychosocial visits and 28.2% MOUD without psychosocial visits). In adjusted analyses, women had a lower probability of receiving either treatment alone or in combination (e.g.,MOUD plus psychosocial visits: women = 6.7% [6.5%-6.9%] vs. men = 9.2% [9.0%-9.4%]). Moderate/severe vs. mild OUD was associated with a higher probability of receiving MOUD (e.g., MOUD plus psychosocial visits: 8.7% [8.6%-8.9%] vs. 0.9% [0.7%-1.0%]). In contrast, an OUD overdose was associated with a greater probability of receiving neither treatment (78.2% [77.4%-79.0%] vs. 55.5% [55.2%-55.8%]). Over time, the probability of receiving each MOUD and psychosocial treatment category increased relative to 2008, but reached a peak and then plateaued or declined, by the end of the study period. CONCLUSIONS: A significant treatment gap exists among individuals identified with OUD in this commercially insured population, with greater risks of receiving no treatment for women and for individuals with mild versus moderate or severe OUD. Overdose is associated with receiving neither MOUD nor psychosocial treatment. While treated prevalence initially increased relative to 2008, rates of treatment subsequently plateaued. Additional study and monitoring to elucidate barriers to OUD treatment in commercially insured populations are warranted.