Before 2014, it was estimated that nearly one-third of insurance plans lacked coverage for substance abuse, and that nearly 20 percent of the country had zero access to mental health services. Nowadays, access to effective health care for addiction treatment is dramatically improved, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Those who were disenrolled from Medicaid, those who were coming out of criminal incarceration, and those who could not afford insurance have benefited greatly from the bill. Roughly 32 million people have gained access to such coverage since the change took place, and those who already had mental health coverage now have much more.
Although doctors have known for decades that addiction is a treatable condition, the addiction field has historically been on the outer edge of the medical community, garnering a puny one cent of every healthcare dollar in the United States. The lack of resources and research in the field has been tied directly to the lack of health insurance. Today, addiction researchers are optimistic about the implementation of new and improving treatment techniques, data collection, and exposure into the mainstream of medical care.
3 to 5 million more drug and alcohol addicts are now eligible for the insurance coverage they need to get into detox and rehab. Investments in addiction treatment have increased substantially. The implementation of more support resources—interventionists, treatment centers, hotlines, fellowship programs—are on the horizon, which is crucial, since the demand for addiction treatment services have outweighed all available resources for so long. Far too many treatment systems are publicly funded and run by counselors with limited training simply because that’s the only affordable way to do it.
These changes are not without controversy. One risk of increasing health care availability is that the system could become overloaded, putting addicts in need of immediate treatment on a waiting list for too long. However, even before the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, patients with insurance were being put on waiting lists indefinitely, possibly because there has been such little pressure to meet the demand.
With more people having insurance plans, treatment centers and medical colleges are under pressure to provide large-scale treatment systems that deliver the quality of care people need to detox properly, get healthy again, and avoid relapse for the rest of their lives. The new law also provides subsidies to help buy private coverage, while the government works to expand Medicaid programs to the lower class, the segment of the population most affected by addiction.
Drug and alcohol addiction, the nationwide epidemic that bogs down any and all aspects of society, is finally becoming a healthcare priority in the United States, an essential health benefit for all.
If you have questions about your healthcare or insurance coverage in regards to seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, let the experts at Hired Power bring your clarity, guidance, and options.