Only a fraction of those suffering from substance addiction in the US get treatment for it, mainly due to the fact that there is no insurance coverage for the treatment and it isn’t affordable for many people otherwise. However, the Affordable Care Act defined under Obamacare policies is set to change all that, declaring substance addiction as a chronic disease. This will make more than three million people around the country eligible to receive addiction treatment, including homeless addicts and working moms.
What Does Affordable Care Act Mean for Addicts?
Currently, less than one percent of the total population suffers from substance abuse disorders and gets treatment; most of the 2.3 million individuals coming for treatment are in severely bad shape. While more than 23 million people in the US suffer from substance abuse in total, an additional 60 million become addicted to medically harmful substances.
The introduction of ACA will have a far-reaching positive impact on the healthcare of the entire nation as more addicts will be able to afford treatment and rehab. Under this new law, treatment of substance abuse and addiction will be regarded as chronic disease treatment, prompting insurance companies to provide coverage for these treatments as well.
With these plans rolling out in less than a year, more than 40 million people currently suffering from drug abuse will be able to enter into rehabs for proper treatment. This way, they will be able to leave behind their addiction so that they can lead a healthy life. According to early estimates, substance abuse is one issue that will be positively affected the most after the introduction of the Affordable Care Act.
What Brought On the Change?
If you are wondering what made the government take substance abuse so seriously, a glance at the facts will give you the answer you need. Not only does a major segment of the population suffer from substance addiction, but its members also face extremely high healthcare, legal and other costs. Over the years, addictions have cost the government $120 billion every year in healthcare. That aside, substance addicts are more prone to develop other health conditions that further increase the indirect costs of substance addiction.
Addicts are also known to be involved more in violent accidents, increasing the cost of healthcare even further by causing injuries while increasing the legal costs that incur while bringing them to justice. Overall, it is estimated that more than $420 billion are spent in way of health care, lost productivity and criminal justice in the US every year, all because of untreated addiction. Despite all that, only 1% addicts are able to get proper treatment, which is resulting in the ever-increasing number of addicts.
Is This Enough?
While the fact that more people will be able to get treated sounds good and research figures look astounding, the fact remains that this still isn’t enough to counter the epidemic of substance addiction in the country. Even if insurance companies are willing to pay for addiction treatment, the treatment itself needs to be improved and rebuilt from scratch to make this new rule work as it is anticipated to. Right now, only the experts of addiction treatment are using the latest methodologies and practices to ensure that their patients recover completely before they stop getting treatment. Other treatment centers are merely touching the base of addiction treatment, which is a major reason behind the relapse that occurs later.
Great policing and regulations will be necessary in order to ensure that insurance companies are following through this new system. Due to the heavy costs involved, it is understandable that this may not have a very favorable outcome for insurance companies. Another hurdle lies in the fact that you can’t force addicts to go for their treatment or stay clean after they receive it. How much the addicts themselves really want to leave behind their addiction is what will contribute to the success of this Affordable Care Act.
In a perfect scenario where the victims of substance abuse are willing to let go of their addiction and where insurance companies are willing to pay for the best of treatments, the changes under Obamacare can bring revolutionary change in addiction treatment.
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