News & Updates Program Brief

New FORE Briefs Shine Light on the Costs of OUD Treatment for Patients

November 17, 2021

Because opioid use disorder is a chronic condition, treatment with medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is often not a one-time event or short term. Treatment costs may be incurred for months or years, leaving patients with high out-of-pocket costs. In two new issue briefs, health policy expert Kristi Martin shines light on the affordability of MOUD treatment. In one, Martin examines the costs of MOUD to patients with Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance coverage. She finds that even with insurance many people face high cost-sharing, as well as benefit limits, prior authorization requirements, and other barriers to timely, affordable care. In a second brief focused on the uninsured who make up one of every six patients with OUD, Martin estimates monthly costs and describes the benefits and limits of patient assistance programs. She finds community health centers, free clinics, and other resources that help uninsured patients do not have enough capacity to meet demand.