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Does Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) Cover Drug Rehab?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

January 23, 2019

A major concern that many people face when it comes to addiction and recovery is how they are going to pay for treatment. The Affordable Care Act provides coverage for addiction treatment allowing individuals who were previously unable to seek treatment to get the help that they need.

It seems like everywhere you look these days, people are talking about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Being a hot button issue, many people wonder how it will affect them personally. Will they have to change insurances? Will their premiums go up? What services will Obamacare cover? Those who are looking into drug rehab may also be wondering how this new insurance will effect them in the future.

Does The Affordable Care Act Cover Drug Rehab?

The long and short of it: yes, the ACA does cover drug rehab. It considers substance abuse disorders as one of the ten essential elements of excellent health care and that all health insurance sold on Health Insurances Exchange and Medicaid from 2014 on must include it in their packages. This allows many individuals who previously did not have access to these services to be able to go to rehab now. The legislation is still determining exactly which specific services and types of treatment will be covered in full.

What Will Change?

As stated above, because mental health (including addiction) is now covered under Obamacare up to the same standards as physical health, many more people will have access to drug rehabs that did not have the means before. This means that more people will be receiving quality help for their addiction, making our nation as a whole healthier and decreasing the likelihood of abuse and relapse. Annually, untreated addiction costs the country 420 billion dollars due to health care, criminal justice, and lost productivity costs. Having addiction treatment covered under health insurance allows the country to save money by helping those with substance abuse issues get back on the right path, giving taxpayers a break and allowing funding to go elsewhere.

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Right now many people only receive addiction treatment services once they have hit bottom. In the future, the Affordable Care Act will treat addiction much like any other disease with prevention, early intervention, and plenty of options when it comes to care. This also means covered medical screenings, educational and informative campaigns, and community prevention activities. Overall, many more programs will be implemented to help those who are struggling or who have a family history of abuse to stay on the straight and narrow.

What Stays The Same?

While all this is good in theory, we won’t know how well Obamacare does with caring the weight of addiction treatment until we see it in action. Thus, people will always be able to check themselves into rehab without the help of insurance. It might be more expensive, but it is good to know that there will always be an option to choose the facility you want, instead of being forced to go where your insurance tells you to.

And just because insurance will cover some types of treatment, doesn’t mean that it will necessarily be of quality. Some research shows that nearly 90% of people who enter rehab aren’t receiving evidence-based treatment, or in other words, treatment that has proven to be effective. Thus, no matter how good insurance is as picking up the tab, one must be sure that they are receiving quality treatment, as that is the most important factor of recovery.

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That’s where comes in. We can help you find the rehab that best fits your needs, and we only pick those that have a proven record of success and meet our standards. Contact us today if you or a loved one are looking into drug rehab. We can answer all your questions and guide you towards the right decision.

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