Health Law to Open Access to Addiction Treatment

Patients that are admitted to the Tara Treatment Center have hope that they will be able to recover from the disease that is shattering their lives. Alcoholism has cost many of them their jobs, while drug abuse has torn them away from their friends and families or even led to jail time. They are attempting to regain all of these elements by working with counselors to help them regain control of their lives at the treatment center. Addiction treatment is hardly ever covered by health insurance and many people are not able to afford the programs that are needed to recover and manage the disease. That prevents many people from being able to get the help that they need; millions of people in fact.

That is going to change next year based on a health law. Health insurance companies will be required to pay for substance abuse and addiction treatment in 2014. The change means that up to 62 million people will be able to receive coverage for drug and alcohol problems, which may range from paying for weekly counseling sessions to dealing with long term stays in some of the rehab facilities in the area. Local treatment centers are encouraged that addiction is now beginning to be treated more like a disease than a moral problem. Questions still remain about what will be covered, however. The change is part of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010 to help expand Medicaid and private insurance coverage for more people.

States are allowed to determine whether or not to make Medicaid available to more people. In Indiana, the General Assembly has not passed legislation to expand that portion and the governor has stated that the only expansion that would be available would be through the Healthy Indiana Plan which is already in place. The indecision is making it difficult for health care providers to be able to prepare for the additional patients that are likely to be waiting when everything becomes available soon. Certain aspects of the law will go into effect regardless of what the legislature does, however. The Affordable Care Act established 10 mandatory essential health benefits that needed to be covered by individual and small group insurance plans. One of the benefits is behavioral health, which includes addiction treatment.

The Tara treatment center has been helping people manage the disease for over 25 years. Patients address the emotional ties that make them turn towards using substance abuse. There are therapists that use individual and group sessions to help change behavior and form new behaviors that wouldn't include alcohol and drugs. Despite being accepted nas a disease by the medical community, mental health problems and addiction are still excluded from insurance coverage. That leads towards a greater stigma that has been placed by society on people who struggle with alcohol or drug addictions. Steps were taken in 2008 when a bill was passed to work towards treating mental and physical health problems more equally.

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