Affordable Care Act for addiction treatment

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a relatively new law that may help more people obtain access to much needed addiction treatment. To find out more about the Affordable Care Act and how it pertains to addiction treatment, keep reading.

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What is the Affordable Care Act?

Known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and colloquially as ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act is a United States statute that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March of 2010. This law was a massive overhaul of the United States healthcare system. Its main purpose is to reduce the cost of healthcare as well as expand health insurance coverage to Americans.

The primary purpose of the law is to help everyone get access to “affordable”, quality health insurance. In order to accomplish this, a person’s health insurance premiums are based on their income. Those with lower incomes will pay less than those with higher incomes. Under this new law, more uninsured Americans than ever will qualify for affordable health insurance policies and won’t be turned away due to pre-existing conditions. Often, insurance companies claim addiction to be a pre-existing condition. In the future, insurance companies won’t be able to do this, instead they’ll be helping people finance treatment for addictions.

In order to buy private health insurance, American citizens can do so through their employer or the Health Insurance Exchange (HIX), an online marketplace for health insurance. This marketplace is scheduled to open on October 1st, 2013. State based Health Insurance Exchanges are also planned to be open by that date as well.

Affordable Care Act for addiction treatment

How does the Affordable Care Act affect addiction treatment?

  1. Insurance companies can  no longer claim that addiction is a “pre-existing” condition and therefore not subject to coverage. It will be required from insurance companies to cover addiction as a medical condition.
  2. Insurance companies on the HIX must offer mental health and addiction treatment services.
  3. Medicaid will be more accessible to those who need help for addiction treatment.

Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals who may have been previously turned down for health insurance or had high premiums because of a pre-existing condition. Many insurance companies consider substance abuse and addiction to be pre-existing conditions. Because of the Affordable Care Act, individuals suffering from drug or alcohol addictions will be able to get the affordable addiction treatment that they need.

By 2014, health insurance companies on the Health Insurance Exchanges must offer plans that cover mental health and addiction treatment services. In fact, the Affordable Care Act established substance abuse treatment and other mental health services as some of the main elements of essential health benefits.

The Affordable Care Act also attempts to expand Medicaid eligibility. Under this law, individuals with an income lower than 133% of the poverty level may be eligible to receive Medicaid. To find out if you’re eligible, contact your county assistance office.

Affordable Care Act for addiction treatment questions

More information about the Affordable Care Act can be found on In October, you can also visit this website to compare and shop for affordable health insurance plans. If you still have questions about the Affordable care Act and addiction treatment, feel free to leave them below. We’ll do our best to provide you with answers and help you understand this revolutionary new healthcare reform.

Reference Sources: The White House: Substance Abuse and the Affordable Care Act
SAMHSA: Health Reform
SAMHSA:  HealthReform: Overview of the Affordable Care Act
Health Care: Key Features of the Affordable Care Act
Obama Care Facts: What is the ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace?
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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