Obamacare, Substance Abuse Treatment, and You
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who purchased health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — more commonly known as Obamacare — you can expect enhanced coverage for substance abuse treatment to be a part of your policy. Beginning in 2014, all ACA policies must include coverage for substance abuse treatment — and will hopefully mark an important turning point in how our society regards and pays for addiction rehabilitation.
If the states adopt the changes made by the ACA, significantly more people will become eligible for subsidized substance abuse treatment. For example, the ACA will expand the number of people who will become eligible for Medicaid and also private insurance — assuming most people choose to buy coverage versus pay the penalty. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Medicaid expansion alone will add over 15 million uninsured individuals to the rolls. It will also force insurers to provide more funds for substance abuse treatment, which should provide for more comprehensive care. The ACA will also force insurers to pay for coverage for newly insured individuals as part of the essential health benefits. The essential health benefits include conditions requiring mandatory treatment — which means that even the most bare-bones plans will include some sort of health insurance coverage. Keep in mind, however, that the states will have a fair amount of leeway in what constitutes “bare bones” insurance. The ACA and Medicaid expansion also means that states should use less state, local, and SAMHSA funding when treating low-income individuals. This is significant because roughly half of these expenditures go toward substance abuse treatment. How the ACA will affect SAMHSA funding is still unknown.
One of the concerns about increasing coverage for substance abuse treatment is the difficulty in producing measurable results. As most substance abuse professionals already know, positive treatment outcomes appear low percentage-wise, but it is often difficult to track former addicts. With the ACA, that may change, as provider networks will likely tie payments to outcomes. It will also change the face of integrated care for substance abuse, as accountable care organizations, Medicaid health homes, and patient-center medical homes will partner with treatment providers. The bottom line? Substance abuse treatment coverage is about to undergo a radical shift in the United States. If the re-election of Barack Obama as America’s 44th President of the United States means anything, it is that American citizens can expect a little more consistency within their legislation. Among the most notable acts of legislation promised by Obama during both of his campaigns for the Presidency was the concern over America’s health care system. When our 44th President first earned his chair in leading the nation, he immediately took the initiative to put into action a new proposal for health care reform called the Affordable Care Act. And now that he has regained his position, we can count on seeing this initiative furthered in the next 4 years! But among this 11-year plan was a ton of confusing political jargon, making it easy for Americans to misinterpret how the Act would impact themselves and their nation. So as a duty to our followers and role in the promotion of health, we wanted to help better explain the Affordable Care Act! This health reform infographic breaks down the Affordable Care Act to explain how it will affect each and every citizen, from small businesses to large ones, college students to parents, and senior citizens to the young! It’s important that you know about the Affordable Care Act and understand that if we had maintained our status-quo, over 14,000 Americans would lose their health insurance daily!
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