Will Obamacare help people get substance abuse treatment?
Obamacare or the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) has the potential to revolutionize substance abuse treatment. For those Americans that have actually been able to sign up for health insurance through the health insurances exchange and Medicaid and have been able to use it are now covered for substance abuse treatment. Now mental health, which includes addiction prevention and treatment, has the same treatment standards that physical health has under ACA. The ACA designated 10 “essential elements of excellent health care” and substance abuse disorders is one of the them. Other essential benefits include emergency room visits without pre authorization and prescription drug coverage.
For the Americans that have this new insurance, the news is good if they or loved ones are in need of substance abuse treatment. It will allow many individuals to seek the treatment they desperately need that were not able to before. But according to the government’s own website, they haven’t exactly determined which specific services they will cover. Considering the cost of alcohol and drug rehab that’s a big unknown.
We are only in the third month of the Obamacare implementation and, as a result, will have to wait to see how this all plays out - if most or all of the needed services will be covered - but it does have the potential to save the taxpayers money in the long run. Every year, untreated addiction costs the taxpayers $420 billion dollars because of the cost of health care associated with drug and alcohol abuse.* Criminal justice and lost productivity costs due to untreated addiction also put a burden on this country. If the implementation of this coverage can reduce these costs then the funding can potentially be spent in other needed areas.
*Information regarding this obtained from:http://ideas.time.com/2013/11/13/one-thing-obamacare-cant-fix-bad-addiction-treatment/