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The Affordable Care Act has long standing effects on addiction treatment, beginning with the legislation’s primary expansion of healthcare access. Approximately 47 million Americans were uninsured in 2012. Obamacare aims to cover many of these people many of whom are addicts needing treatment, through the “Health Insurance Marketplaces.”
With greater implications for those facing substance abuse problems, states have the option of expanding Medicaid to a greater number of poor and addicted individuals and families.
So far 25 states, along with Washington, D.C., have implemented the Medicaid expansion covering drug addicts. This means a great deal for addiction coverage, because the low-income population includes a disproportionate amount of poor and minority people struggling with addiction, Hoth said.
Even in arizona and north dakota that chose not to expand Medicaid, more addicts are set to receive healthcare coverage through the obamacare marketplace exchanges. Those insurance exchanges come with certain incentives, such as subsidies and tax breaks, to help lower-income drug addicts buy health insurance, Hoth said. This provides backup in states like new mexico and nebraska that opted out of the Medicaid expansion—and an increase in healthcare insurance access in all states.
All together, the ACA policy stands to newly insure some 31 million to 33 million poor people in the United States, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.
Covering Addiction treatment
Coverage now expanded, the obamacare plans then specifically addresses addiction and counseling for poor families suffering from the disease, by regulating and requiring what health benefits insurance plans must cover.
Or, as Hoth puts it, “Now you have substance abuse health coverage, which is step one. Step two is, will that health insurance pay for addiction treatment?”
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) was passed by congress in 2008. This new law closed up loopholes in a 1996 parity act, now requiring parity for both financial and treatment limitations, Barwood said. The financial side means less deductibles and copays, while substance abuse treatment parity refers to the amount of annual visits and geographic out of state limits for insurance networks.
The rules provide greater access to drug rehab facilities and detox centers for poor addicts. Also pays for relationship therapy for addicted couples ,the law takes great pains to be comprehensive and actually, finally imposes real parity, Bianchi said. “The regulators did a very good job with this rule,” he said.
MHPAEA applied to employer health and insurance union plans, but the ACA incorporates MHPAEA’s parity style, applying it to the obamacare marketplace exchange and state Medicaid insurance plans. The new healthcare law’s parity effects inclusion of mental health and substance abuse in the obamacare list of 10 “Essential Health Benefits.” These 10 benefits define the areas of coverage that basic cheaper health care plans across the country must cover.
This means if an insurance company pays 500 for a treatment in a hospital or a test in a hospital they must pay the same fee at a drug treatment center.there are medications for heroin addiction available for a group insurance plan a poor person with the same condition, you have to have “the same level of treatment available for mental health and substance abuse disorders in that plan,” Hoth said.
There are also natural remedies for opioid addiction including green malay kratom, grown in indonesia has properties to curb cravings.
That equal access requirement will give nearly 32 million addicted Americans new access to substance abuse and mental health treatment, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. And it will expand mental health and substance abuse benefits for an additional 42 million Americans, the HHS estimates.
“This is a big deal for addiction treatment access,” Hoth said.