The Affordable Care Act, which is often also referred to as Obamacare, has begun to unroll with the coming of the new year, and many aspects of the healthcare industry will see a transformation because of it. The act, which is very widespread, has brought about, among other things, changes in the way that healthcare is billed and paid for. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance has become more accessible to millions of individuals who were previously unable to afford or qualify for insurance. One of the groups of people most impacted by the changes brought forth by the new act are recovering addicts.
Billions Spent On Treatment of Addiction
Addiction is a disease that has not always been considered a chronic illness by health insurance companies. This has changed somewhat as instances of addiction have continued to rise in the United States, in part due to the large number of individuals suffering from addiction to opiates and other prescription drugs. Like many other serious diseases, addiction can lead to a number of expensive and dangerous health complications if left untreated.
Avoiding Rehab Because of the Cost
The new guidelines set forth by the Affordable Care Act dictate that insurers must now cover rehabilitation programs for their insured. This is a monumental step toward increasing instances of successful treatment among addicts because prior to the passage of the act, many plans did not cover rehab, or made it very difficult for a patient to afford entering a treatment center. This had potentially dangerous consequences for a number of reasons. One reason that making rehab seem inaccessible had hazardous effects is that when a person is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, they often search for any reason possible to avoid seeking treatment. This is because when a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their brain becomes wired to become consumed with getting more drugs or alcohol at virtually any cost. Thus, any viable reason for staying out of rehab can keep an addict from obtaining the help they need.
The cost of rehab was often legitimately prohibitive prior to the guidelines set forth by the act. Recovering from addiction is a long process that often requires an addict to check into an inpatient program, which can entail several days and even weeks of treatment. Treatments like these are simply much more affordable when covered by a health insurance plan.
Another change brought about by Obamacare that is advantageous to addicts and recovering addicts is an emphasis on preventative care. The Affordable Care Act includes several provisions that encourage physicians and patients to reduce the possible future impact of addiction by placing an emphasis on screening for signs of addiction or a tendency towards addiction before the behaviors become too severe. This includes better access to mental health services, and free access to preventative care. Preventative care is a wonderful tool because it can help save a patient from much pain and agony before it even starts.
Making Strides To Help Addicts of All Types
Addiction is a serious disease that can seriously impact the lives of all types of people. It is very important that those struggling with addiction are not denied care simply because of their financial status or the type of insurance that they carry. New changes to the health care system mean that the individuals who most need help will have a chance to get the medical attention they need in order to move forward with their lives in a way that will benefit not only them, but their family members, coworkers, and loved ones.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.