A recently-published JAMA study titled, Medical Costs of Substance Use Disorders in the US Employer-Sponsored Insurance Population, examined the research question: What is the medical cost of substance use disorders (SUDs) for US employers, employees, and their health insurance payers?

The answer: of the 162 million non–Medicare eligible enrollees with employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) in 2018, 2.3 million had an SUD diagnosis. The annual attributable medical expenditure was $15,640 per affected enrollee and $35.3 billion in the population.

The authors said it best, so we’ll highlight their words:


  • “The cost of strategies to support employees and their health insurance dependents to prevent and treat SUDs can be considered in terms of potentially offsetting the existing high medical cost of SUDs.” 


  • “Not all people with SUDs have a diagnosis, and costs related to absenteeism, presenteeism, job retention, and mortality are not addressed.”


  • “In this study, 1% of the ESI population had an SUD diagnosis compared with 11% of workers who self-report SUD, suggesting the medical cost that employers and their health insurance payers face is likely far higher than reported here. Employers can take action by developing workplace-supported prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.”


Is your workplace Recovery-Ready?  Manifesto Health will co-create your workplace-supported recovery program. Let us help you lead the way!