Staying Sober, Obama’s Affordable Care Act: There are many challenges to sober living and maintaining sobriety. The biggest hurdle is making the choice to get sober. Once you’ve taken on that remarkable endeavor and the process of recovery has begun, you’ve got to find a rehabilitative treatment center, which is often quite costly. But it doesn’t end there. The next challenge, an ongoing one, is how to stay sober and prevent relapse after your treatment is complete.
One option that many recovering addicts choose is to stay at a sober living or halfway house. This helps to bridge the gap between having a very structured and supportive environment to returning home where there is likely little or no structure for staying sober. Halfway houses can provide a community of folks in similar shoes, also making the choice every day to stay sober.
However, this also costs money, adding to the challenges of creating a sober life for yourself. One of the benefits of Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that the treatment of substance use disorders is considered to be an essential health benefit. Addiction recovery is now seen as a primary component to physical health, and for this reason, the ACA is making it more affordable and more accessible for individuals to get the recovery treatment they need.
Apparently, the logic is simple. Taxpayers were essentially paying high dollars to privatized health care and law enforcement when it came to untreated addictions. However, the aim of ACA is to use those dollars in a preventative way by making it easier for addicts to obtain the treatment they need, hopefully keeping them out the legal system and keeping law enforcement costs down.
Furthermore, screening and counseling for addicts is now considered to be preventative care and this kind of care under the ACA is fully covered. Also, whereas before addicts might have been deemed ineligible for health care coverage, now under the ACA an individual cannot be turned away even if they have a history of addiction.
There are some disadvantages for recovering addicts covered under the ACA. For instance, if an individual says yes to whether they use tobacco products, insurance companies can charge them a higher premium. The point here is to prevent people from smoking. But using tobacco products is often closely related to using other drugs, and often a recovering addict might also be a smoker and be subject to higher healthcare premiums.
Also, there is some confusion regarding specialty treatment, which should be the umbrella term for rehab programs. There are some clear loopholes regarding whether new healthcare plans under the ACA will cover ongoing rehabilitative treatment that would prevent relapse. There is no clear indication whether a patient’s second, third, or fourth admittance to rehab programs would be covered. Because relapse is a reality in treating addiction this is an important component that still needs clarification under the ACA.
In some cases, the ACA is a godsend for a recovery addict. Most or all of their treatment costs are covered. In other cases, certain costs are still in question. Hopefully, in the future, those loopholes will be closed and the full range of treatment costs for healing addictions don’t have to land on the individual in recovery.
Mod: A website called RehabCenter.net asks that question, and then provides the following answer (link).
Mod: There are other sites that explain this connection as well. SoberNation (link) has an article called "Obamacare Helping Low-Level Drug Offenders Beat Their Addiction" that is also informative.