Medicaid Expansion Leads to Increase in Substance Abuse Treatment

Dec 29, 2016

Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion has led to a dramatic increase in substance abuse treatment services. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has examined substance abuse services covered by Medicaid between 2014 and mid-2016.


The group’s report found that Medicaid beneficiaries received 740-percent more treatment services for substance abuse issues over that 30-month period. Before the Affordable Care Act in 2012, about 585-thousand Kentuckians lacked health insurance, and therefore had no coverage for drug and alcohol treatment services.

Expanded health insurance isn’t the only reason substance abuse treatment services have increased in recent years. Another factor is the commonwealth’s rising rates of prescription opioid and heroin abuse. Heroin and other opioids accounted for nearly half of Kentucky’s inpatient admissions for substance abuse treatment in 2015.