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How Do Changes in the Affordable Care Act Help Addicts?

 Does the recent establishment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) help addicts in any way? With all the buzz surrounding the Act, the majority of addicts and many healthcare officials are talking about the benefits concerning addiction treatment.

Before the ACA passed this year, many insurance companies withheld paying for all or most of addiction treatment services. As a result, many addicts who wanted to attend detox and rehab centers were not able to afford treatment, as some of these facilities are quite expensive. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 10% out of the 23 million Americans struggling with addiction receive treatment.

The refusal to pay for addiction treatment led many addicts to have to wait until they hit rock bottom before they would seek treatment. Rock bottom may have consisted of getting into legal trouble, health issues, relationship breakups, and so on. Many times when an addict hits rock bottom, they have no choice but to seek some sort of treatment.

 ACA Changes

With the implementation of the ACA this year, many health plans are under obligation to include “essential health benefits”, which include services for substance abuse disorders. This has opened doors for addicts to enter detox and rehab for services.

As a result, it is more likely that addicts will seek treatment for their substance abuse issues. After all, the high price of rehabs and counseling services was always a barrier to addicts without adequate insurance before the ACA.

Additionally, primary doctors who ask patients if they are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse may be able to perform some short-term treatments in their own offices as efforts to arrest the disease before it progresses further. There will be more efforts at prevention and early intervention, which will hopefully decrease the number of addicts who end up in rehab centers. It will also save money in the long run.

More services

Experts assert that by the end of the year, the ACA substance abuse coverage will be much like that of other chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Those struggling with substance abuse ought to be able to be screened, assessed, evaluated, and offered medication if needed. Home health visits may be included at some point as well.

Pharmaceutical companies will be working hard to come up with new medications to provide primary care physicians for addicts walking through their doors, as this market in the doctor’s office has been quite limited in the past. With doctors having the ability to prescribe medications, drug reps will be hitting over 550,000 doctor’s offices.

The ACA is good news to those struggling with addiction that did not previously have healthcare insurance. With substance abuse being so prevalent, the ACA ought to be looked upon favorably as addicts will be able to get the help they need and they and their families will benefit from such. For more information about the Affordable Care Act or to enroll, visit

Image: KCCI

Dominica Applegate, M.A., is a blogger for Pat Moore Foundation as well an Author, Speaker, and Life Coach. She offers an eCourse entitled “Overcoming Codependency” and holds workshops regularly. She is dedicated to the sacred art of self-discovery, creative expression, and adding value to humanity. Feel free to connect with her at Dominica Applegate and receive her free eBook “Recycle Pain: It Has a Purpose”.

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