Economic Impact of Opioid Abuse

Background And Purpose  

Increasing numbers of deaths due to opioid use and its impact on life expectancy are common headlines in the United States.  A better understanding of the effects of the opioid crisis on morbidity and mortality, with significant economic and financial implications on a micro and macro level would help actuaries and insurers better project future morbidity and mortality for pricing, valuation, and other purposes.  In addition, this information could help the public and policymakers address the opioid addiction.

Research Objective

The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee (MLPSC) is seeking a researcher or team of researchers to perform a study that estimates the associated economic and financial cost of the opioid crisis in the US.  Three steps are necessary to accomplish this:

  1. The researchers will perform a literature review, providing a general overview of how the opioid epidemic began, the historical and current impacts of opioid abuse on US morbidity and mortality, its effects across demographic and socio-economic groups. and associated economic and financial costs at both a micro and macro level.
  2. Using the available information from step 1, the researchers will identify statistically significant changes in risk of medical problems, treatment, hospitalization and/or death due to the opioid epidemic. This, along with other information, can be used to estimate the associated economic and financial costs. Examples might be lost wages due to illness, increased medical costs, lost future wages due to death, and other metric(s).
  3. The researchers will incorporate the findings of the study into a report to be made available on the Society of Actuaries website that discusses the importance of these findings.  Specifically, the report should include the data and methodologies used to describe expected additional medical, life, and related insurance and societal costs due to the opioid crisis in the US.


To facilitate the evaluation of proposals, the following information should be submitted:

  1. Resumes of the researcher(s), including any graduate student(s) expected to participate, indicating how their background, education and experience bear on their qualifications to undertake the research. If more than one researcher is involved, a single individual should be designated as the lead researcher and primary contact. The person submitting the proposal must be authorized to speak on behalf of all the researchers as well as for the firm or institution on whose behalf the proposal is submitted.
  2. An outline of the approach to be used (e.g. literature search, what items will be studied, modeling approach, etc.), emphasizing issues that require special consideration. Details should be given regarding the techniques to be used, collateral material to be consulted, and possible limitations of the analysis.
  3. A description of the expected deliverables and any supporting data, tools or other resources.
  4. Cost estimates for the research, including computer time, salaries, report preparation, material costs, etc. Such estimates can be in the form of hourly rates, but in such cases, time estimates should also be included. Any guarantees as to total cost should be given and will be considered in the evaluation of the proposal. While cost will be a factor in the evaluation of the proposal, it will not necessarily be the decisive factor.
  5. A schedule for completion of the research, identifying key dates or time frames for research completion and report submissions.  The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee has a hard deadline of August 31, 2019 for completing this project.  Suggestions in the proposal for ensuring timely delivery, such as fee adjustments, are encouraged.
  6. Other related factors that give evidence of a proposer's capabilities to perform in a superior fashion should be detailed.

Selection Process

The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee will appoint a Project Oversight Group (POG) to oversee the project.  The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee is responsible for recommending the proposal to be funded.  Input from other knowledgeable individuals also may be sought, but the Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee will make the final recommendation, subject to SOA leadership approval. The SOA's Research Actuary will provide staff actuarial support.


Any questions regarding this RFP should be directed to Ronora Stryker, SOA Research Actuary (phone: 847-706-3614; email:    

Notification Of Intent To Submit Proposal

If you intend to submit a proposal, please e-mail written notification by April 12, 2019 to Jan Schuh.

Submission Of Proposal

Please e-mail a copy of the proposal to Jan Schuh.

Proposals must be received no later than April 22, 2019. It is anticipated that all proposers will be informed of the status of their proposal by May 3, 2019.

Note: Proposals are considered confidential and proprietary.


The selection of a proposal is conditioned upon and not considered final until a Letter of Agreement is executed by both the Society of Actuaries and the researcher.

The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee reserves the right to not award a contract for this research. Reasons for not awarding a contract could include, but are not limited to, a lack of acceptable proposals or a finding that insufficient funds are available. The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee also reserves the right to redirect the project as is deemed advisable.

The Society of Actuaries plans to hold the copyright to the research and to publish the results with appropriate credit given to the researcher(s).

The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee may choose to seek public exposure or media attention for the research.  By submitting a proposal, you agree to cooperate with the Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee in publicizing or promoting the research and responding to media requests.

The Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee may also choose to market and promote the research to members, candidates and other interested parties.  You agree to perform promotional communication requested by the Mortality and Longevity Program Steering Committee, which may include, but is not limited to, leading a webcast on the research, presenting the research at an SOA meeting, and/or writing an article on the research for an SOA newsletter.