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5 Ways Obamacare Helps With the Cost of Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Over 46 million Americans suffer from substance use disorder (SUD), and in 2021, 94% of those with drug or alcohol addiction (aged 12 or older) did not receive treatment.1 In many cases, this is due to a lack of treatment options or an inability to afford those services.

But with the provisions made under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) to both provide and expand options for treatment, more Americans than ever have a better shot at beating addiction.

It Pays to Understand the Details of Obamacare

“There is no illness currently being treated that will be more affected by the Affordable Care Act than addiction,” said Tom McLellan, CEO of the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute and Obama’s former deputy drug czar.

“That’s because we have a system of treatment that was built for a time when they didn’t understand that addiction was an illness.”

The Affordable Care Act provides more options than ever for covered rehab expenses. Here are five ways that the ACA will help keep your inpatient and outpatient treatment costs down.

#1 Substance Misuse Treatment Is Now a Priority

The ACA has included substance use disorders as one of their 10 elements of essential health benefits. In other words, Medicaid and any other form of coverage sold through Health Insurance Exchanges must include services for substance misuse. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 also requires that health insurance plans provide mental health and substance abuse disorder benefits that are comparable to the medical and surgical care provided under the same plan.2

#2 Greater Access to Healthcare for Everyone

An estimated 47 million Americans went without health insurance in 2012, but many of these same people now have access to medical coverage because of the expansion of Medicaid and low-cost insurance through Health Insurance Exchanges.3

States that accept federal money allocated by the ACA will be able to expand their Medicaid coverage to people living below and, in some cases, even slightly above the federal poverty line.

#3 Substance Misuse Won’t Deter Coverage

Health insurance coverage for substance use disorder had traditionally been denied or offered only in the most dire situations.

“If diabetes were treated like substance abuse, only people in the most advanced stages of illness would be covered, such as those who had already lost their vision or had severe kidney damage,” said McLellan.

Obamacare legislation forbids insurers from denying coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions – including substance misuse. At the time of this blog post, estimates from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department predicted the inclusion of pre-existing ailments would give 32 million Americans the ability to access substance abuse treatment and mental health services, as well as expand benefits in these fields for an additional 31 million Americans.

#4 Young Adults Can Remain on Parent’s Health Plan

Under Obamacare, any young adult – up to age of 26 – can receive coverage under a parent’s health insurance plan. Data has shown that the percentage of individuals classified as having a substance use disorder was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25, making this expanded addiction treatment coverage is particularly significant.1

#5 Many Screenings and Referrals Are Free

Those with Medicaid, Medicare, or health plans under the Health Insurance Marketplaces can receive free mental health and alcohol screenings. These are listed as “preventive” services and come at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.

Paying for Drug and Alcohol Rehab

If you are unable to use health insurance to pay for addiction rehab, or have additional costs that need to be covered, know that there are several payment options available to you:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers federal funding for substance misuse treatment through various grant programs, such as the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program.

We can help you on your road to recovery. The treatment directory is a tool that can help you begin this search. With this tool, you can search in your state and look at what each facility offers. Check your benefits now using our online verification tool, or contact our caring and professional admissions navigators who can assist you with this process. Get started today – call .

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