Healthcare reform has been a hot topic, and people are still educating themselves exactly how the reform impacts them on an individual basis. People who are battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol should pay particularly close attention to how the reform affects them. Under the new healthcare reform increased accessibility to alcohol and drugs treatment has been promoted, and is being regarded as a serious disease that needs treatment. In fact, substance abuse addiction may be more affected by healthcare reform than any other disease.
The Ten Elements Of Essential Health Benefits
The White House is trying to promote the ten elements of essential health benefits. This includes emergency services being covered, even for out of network visits. And also covers providing services for people who suffer from substance abuse addictions. One of the initiatives the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is taking is increasing the number of professionals who are trained to help people with substance abuse disorders.
Substance Abuse Treatment Will Become Significantly More Accessible
In the past, substance abuse treatment hasn’t been a part of many insurance health plans. People who suffered from addictions were supposed to be treated at clinics that specialized in substance abuse, but wasn’t available as part of general healthcare. However, under the Affordable Care Act, substance abuse treatment has named as an “essential health benefit” and a variety of other health problems are also included like:
- Treatment for chronic disease
- Mental health problems
- Rehabilitative services
- Behavioral health treatment
Since insurance companies are required under the new healthcare reform to cover treatment for people who are struggling with substance abuse, the belief is that more people will have access to alcohol and drug treatment. And since more people will have health insurance plans healthcare reform has been promoting accessibility to alcohol and drug treatment.
Promoting Preventative Treatment
With increased access to alcohol and drug treatment, people can also start engaging in preventative treatment, which can help people prone to addiction with long-term sobriety. Under the new healthcare reform laws doctors now can bill insurance companies for preventative treatments, so that long-term problems can be thwarted before they develop. For example, if someone is starting to develop problems with drugs or alcohol, the individual can consult with the doctor before the problem becomes a chronic addiction, and the doctor can recommend a treatment program to help prevent future problems.
And these services can be billed to insurance. Previously, patients would not have access to these types of services. As a result of an increased number of people seeking treatments for alcohol and drug abuse, more professionals who specialize in that field will need to be trained to meet the growing need.
Addiction Is A Disease
At the basis of the Affordable Care Act’s increased access to alcohol and drug treatment is the belief that alcohol and drug addictions are diseases that deserve to be treated with the same seriousness as other chronic diseases. Addiction being a chronic disease is being more understood with more research, as having to do with how drugs affect the brain. While previously, people who were addicted to drugs and alcohol were thought to have poor impulse control, addiction is a complex disease that has many triggers and pitfalls.
With more access to substance abuse treatments and preventative treatments, perhaps some of the costs associated with drug addiction can be reduced. Reportedly billions of dollars are lost every year with workforce losses, criminal-related charges, and health-related issues. With more understanding of how to treat substance abuse problems, and more access to treatments under the Affordable Care Act, perhaps preventative treatment is actually the key to reducing the amount of drug and alcohol abuse in society. Research has shown that preventative treatments are effective in helping people avoid chronic addiction.