How does the Affordable Health Care Act support addiction treatment?

By 2014, insurance must include treatment for mental health disorders and substance abuse. But what other benefits to those needing addiction treatment does ObamaCare include? We review here.

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The Affordable Health Care Act Supports Addiction Treatment

Since 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) has been slowly making changes to the way the insurance and health care industries provide treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders.

The good news is health insurance will be more affordable once the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) is in full swing. Insurance companies will also no longer be allowed to deny insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions or place a cap on the amount of coverage a person is allowed. This is a major benefit when it comes to obtaining insurance coverage for drug rehab.

There are more benefits to be realized for individuals seeking treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues; according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admiration. By 2014, insurance benefits packages must include treatment for:

  • Mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Prevention and wellness

As early as 2010, the Affordable Health Care Act required changes be made to the Medicaid state plans to enhance community-based services for those in need of long-term care. By 2011, Medicaid reimbursements and grants became available to establish residential care homes.

All is not rosy with the ACA

Although health insurance will be more affordable, therefore more available to those in need of mental health and substance abuse treatment, limits are still in place.

The Supreme Court threw in another monkey wrench in 2012 when it gave each state the choice tojump aboard the Medicaid expansion train or not. Meaning, some benefits will not be available in those states declining to expand their current Medicaid programs.

Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Utah are still on the fence. The following states have taken the option to refuse expansion of their Medicaid programs to date under the Affordable Health Care Act:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

If the state you live in is not on this list, they have agreed to accept the Medicaid expansion.

The Ups and Downs of Affordable Health Care

On a more positive note; preventative medicine will play a larger role in health care. The ACA’s intent is to incent doctors to also look at a patient’s whole health picture, not just one symptom at a time. Both these approaches will improve the overall care patients receive from their doctors, decrease hospital visits, and lower medical costs. Again, benefits will change state to state.

The biggest downfall is the Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid expansion. The Affordable Health Care Act relies on Medicaid to provide treatment to those who otherwise could not afford treatment. States that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs will make it more difficult to obtain mental health benefits. In some states, funding may actually be cut for partial hospitalization and other programs associated with substance abuse and mental health treatment.

About the author
Suzi Martel, founder of In Suzi's Words, is a freelance lifestyle writer who has a passion for writing informative copy on a variety of topics including addiction treatment and drug rehab.
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