The total economic cost of alcohol use disorder (AUD) was estimated to be $249 billion as of 2019, according to the CDC1 with $27 billion coming from healthcare costs.2 The CDC projected the total AUD economic impact on society to b $807 per person, per year.3

AUD and healthcare spending

Alcohol contributes to the highest amount of health plan spending related to substance use 36% of Medicaid substance use claims were related to alcohol in 2020, accounting for over $129 million – an increase of 16% from 2019. Additionally, people with AUD are more likely to be high-cost claimants. In government and commercially insured patients across the country, the top 5% of high-cost claimants have either an existing AUD or health conditions resulting from alcohol use.4


AUD and the workforce

AUD also has a significant economic effect on the workforce by way of tardiness, absenteeism, employee turnover, and conflict. It causes a reduction in potential employees, customer base, and the taxpayer base. 5


AUD and mortality

Alcohol use was directly tied to 95,000 deaths annually between 2011 and 2015, according to the CDC. This was more than all other illicit substances combined including opioids, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamines. The CDC estimates that alcohol-attributed disease resulted in almost 685,000 years of potential life lost (YPLL) for the same period. YPLL is the estimation of the average time a person would have lived had they not died prematurely.6


Below is the YPLL related directly or indirectly to AUD




Total YPLL

>2.7 million

100% alcohol attributed disease




Motor vehicle crashes


Liver disease


Heart disease





What if I need assistance?

If you need assistance connecting your patients to AUD or substance, use treatment, please contact of our Medi-Cal Customer Care Centers at: 800-407-4627 (outside L.A. County) or 888-285-7801 (inside L.A. County).


Email is the quickest and most direct way to receive important information Anthem Blue Cross. To start receiving email from us (including some sent in lieu of fax or mail), submit your information using our online form (

1 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019

2 National Institute on Drug Use, 2018

3 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019

4 Internal Claims Data, 2022

5 National Institute on Drug Use, 2018

6 Center for Disease Control, 2020


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August 2022 Anthem Blue Cross Provider News - California