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How the Affordable Care Act will change addiction treatment

Marking a major change in current addiction care, the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  will recognize alcoholism and drug addiction as chronic diseases. As such, health insurance policies will have to cover their treatment. Lack of insurance coverage is one of the biggest reasons why individuals with substance abuse issues do not receive care. A stay in a residential rehabilitation center can cost thousands of dollars, which is money that some folks simply don't have. According to California Health Report, ACA could lead to as many as 40 million Americans entering treatment programs. 

"I don't think there's another illness that will be more affected by the Affordable Care Act," said Dr. Thomas McLellan, former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to California Health Report. He noted that many in the addiction treatment profession were surprised that ACA would provide coverage for substance abuse issues. "It [was] so marginalized that doctors didn't think it was an illness," he told the source. 

Drug and alcohol abuse has wide-reaching consequences not just for the user, but for the general public as well. According to Ken Bachrach, medical director at the Tarzana Treatment Center in California, addicts without insurance drive up medical costs for everyone. He told California Health Report that substance abusers are more likely to neglect their health and show up for treatment in emergency rooms. In addition, they are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents. 

Despite the soon-to-be expanded availability of treatment for addicts, the true question is whether or not abusers will seek help. If you know someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol, now is the time to seek help. Contact Intervention Services today to learn how an experienced interventionist can guide your loved one into an effective treatment program. 

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