We are just beginning to hear how President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will affect those with addiction issues and mental health needs, but groups like the Legal Action Center see it as largely positive for those in need of substance abuse treatment.
The Legal Action Center is an advocacy group that provides legal assistance to people in recovery or still suffering from addiction, and while they were thrilled that the legislation was largely upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2012, they say much work remains to be done at the state level to assure adequate coverage.
In the recent Supreme Court ruling, all provisions that require inclusion of substance use disorder and mental health coverage at the same level as other essential health benefits that insurers must cover were upheld.
The statute requires that substance abuse and mental health services must be provided through the health insurance exchanges being set up throughout the country, as well as in certain other small and individual private health plans that are outside of the exchanges. The Medicaid population will also have expanded access to these services, which must be at parity with coverage for other illnesses.
While some worry about the added cost of these measures, others argue that the cost of untreated addiction and mental illness is even higher. That why groups like the Legal Action Center are committed to educating policymakers on the huge opportunities that increasing coverage will bring, and how increasing access to these services will ultimately reduce costs to their systems.
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