OBJECTIVE: This study examined the temporal relationship between early discontinuation of buprenorphine treatment and health care expenditures before and after treatment initiation. METHODS: MarketScan commercial claims for patients who initiated buprenorphine for opioid use disorder in 2013 and had continuous insurance for the subsequent 12 months (N=6,444) were used to examine the relationship between treatment retention and health care expenditures before and after buprenorphine initiation. Analysis of covariance and generalized linear models (with gamma distribution/log link) were used to compare expenditures across four buprenorphine-retention groups (0-3, 3-6, 6-12, and 12 or more months). RESULTS: Average total health care expenditures in the 3 months prior to buprenorphine initiation ranged from a high of $7,588 among those with the shortest retention to $4,929 among those with the longest retention (p<0.001). In the 12 months after buprenorphine initiation, total health care expenditures averaged $26,332 per year, with $2,916 (11.1%) in out-of-pocket expenditures. Average annual expenditures for medication were highest among patients with the longest buprenorphine retention, and total health care expenditures were highest among those with the shortest retention. Expenditures for health care services other than medication were highest among those with early discontinuation both before the initiation of buprenorphine and during the initial period after initiation but not in subsequent quarters. CONCLUSIONS: Poorer treatment retention among privately insured adults was associated with greater clinical and financial burdens that preceded and continued during the period shortly following treatment initiation, suggesting that cost burdens may contribute to poor retention among privately insured adults.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health