As Co-Payments Rise, Participation in Treatment Falls and More Substance Abusers Relapse

The sensitivity of drug abuse treatment demand to copayment levels

Between August 1999 and January 2002, Anthony T. Lo Sasso, PhD, and researchers at Northwestern University analyzed the extent to which co-payments for substance abuse treatment influenced people's utilization of treatment services.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) (for more information see Program Results).

Key Findings:

  • Participation in outpatient treatment is likely to drop as co-payments increase.
  • Higher co-payments had a significant effect on whether people returned to treatment after completing earlier treatment episodes.
  • The average outpatient co-payment was about $16 per visit.