The data: Most (~70%) physicians fear they’ve missed signs of drug use disorders during the pandemic since routine medicare care was disrupted, per a November 2021 Quest Diagnostics report surveying 500 primary care doctors.
Digging deeper into the data: The mental health crisis in the US has been getting worse since the onset of the pandemic, and there’s a correlation between declining mental health and rise in drug abuse.
The problem: It’s difficult for individuals suffering from substance use disorder to tap accessible mental health care due to social health and insurance barriers.
For context, Medicaid does cover some in-person addiction and mental health services, but social determinants of health barriers like transportation and limited availability of mental health professionals make it difficult to access what’s covered.
And while there’s been an explosion of app-based therapy adoption, these services are mostly beneficial for people who can afford to pay out of pocket.
The bigger picture: It’s been difficult for digital therapy apps treating substance use disorder to gain Medicaid coverage due to regulatory barriers, but entrants like Pear Therapeutics could be moving the needle on Medicaid adoption.
But Pear recently announced it’s teaming up with MassHealth (Massachusetts’ Medicaid program) to cover its digital therapies—which means it managed to jump through Medicaid programs’ lengthy review process to get care to a ton of new patients:
Massachusetts Medicaid’s plan to cover Pear’s therapies is good news for other digital therapy entrants, since it hints Medicaid agencies are becoming more open to covering digital therapies.