How does the Affordable Healthcare Act affect Treatment?

How Does the Affordable Healthcare Act Affect Treatment?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented across the United States which offered access to effective health care for individuals with addiction. The new laws provided provisions for people who previously enrolled in Medicaid and were disenrolled, individuals exiting the criminal justice system and people who previously could not afford insurance. Nearly one-third of individuals who purchased insurance had no coverage for substance abuse issues in the past and nearly two out of ten individuals did not have access to mental health services.


Benefits of ACA

Nearly 32 million people were estimated to gain access to coverage of mental health services with new benefits under the ACA. Nearly 30 million people with mental health coverage could see improvement in both coverage and care. Implementation of the ACA would greatly benefit the addiction care field which has seen cuts in recent years. In 2013 when ACA was implemented, nearly 3 to 5 million people with drug or alcohol problems suddenly became eligible for insurance coverage through provisions of the ACA. The number of people seeking help increased and more funding became available which may increase opportunities for individuals with addiction and families to get much needed support.


Potential Drawbacks

The substance abuse treatment system is at or near capacity and increased demand can overload an already taxed system. People who seek help under the new ACA may be put on a waiting list for months due to reduced funding and government cutbacks. Quality of care is another issue for individuals seeking treatment. Insurance can mean the difference between getting a spot in treatment or being put on a waitlist. Subsidies may be available to purchase private coverage outside of the ACA while states are being pressured to expand Medicaid programs to include the working poor.



While the demand may increase with new provisions under the ACA, it is important to note more people than ever can have access to care who did not prior to implementation. Although some growing pains may exist, it is the delivery and quality of services which is most important. Nearly 23 million Americans have a drug or alcohol problem with only 10% receiving treatment. Insurance can mean the difference between receiving life saving treatment or being put on a wait list, which can be catastrophic for an individual with addiction. The Affordable Care Act is not a panacea to the crisis of addiction treatment but it is a good place to start.


Your new life starts today. The decision to seek treatment begins with taking the first step. The Villa Treatment Center will help you do the rest. Call today to find out more about our programs and treatment options.