Opioid problems among Ohio Medicaid patients quadrupled in recent years: Report

In 2016, there were four times as many Medicaid recipients diagnosed with opioid dependence, abuse, or overdoses compared with 2010, a report from Ohio Auditor Dave Yost's office shows. The report discovered that opioid dosages for Ohioans with private insurance and Medicaid patients were similar.

In 2016, there were four times as many Medicaid recipients diagnosed with opioid dependence, abuse, or overdoses compared with 2010, a report from Ohio Auditor Dave Yost's office shows. The report discovered that opioid dosages for Ohioans with private insurance and Medicaid patients were similar. However, 26.5 per 1,000 Medicaid recipients required treatment for opioid problems compared with 8.3 per 1,000 commercially insured patients. "Because addiction often leads to job loss and with it the loss of private, commercial insurance, many with addictions fall to Medicaid for opioid addiction treatment," the report states, adding that the hike in Medicaid recipients with opioid-related diagnoses is stretching the state's safety net. Between 2013—when Gov. John Kasich decided to expand Medicaid to more low-income Ohioans under the Affordable Care Act—and 2016, opioid prescriptions in Ohio skyrocketed 255% to nearly $240 million. In addition, the number of Medicaid patients receiving medication-assisted treatment for addiction shot up 639% from 2010 to 2016, the report found. One outside expert said the report findings highlight the importance of Medicaid in the state's battle against addiction.