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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Many Addiction Treatments Fail to Meet ACA Requirements

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), as well as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a great impact on peoples' ability to receive medical insurance and access to behavioral health treatment. Millions of Americans who were once considered uninsurable as the result of pre-existing conditions, such as addiction, now should have access to treatment. Sadly, a new report has found that many addiction treatment facilities do not have the capacity to take on new clients, despite the fact that millions more Americans now have coverage for addiction services, Marketplace reports.

Expanded access to addiction treatment alone isn’t enough, according to University of South Carolina’s Christina Andrews. She points out that half of the addiction programs in the United States fail to meet basic insurance company requirements.

"The reality is it’s going to take years. And we have people right now who have great need," she says.

A national survey was conducted by Andrews to determine how state governmental organizations given the task of overseeing addiction treatment programs are aiding addiction treatment programs in the transition to meet ACA requirements.

“Most agencies are helping programs develop collaborations with other health service programs. However, fewer than half reported providing help in modernizing systems to support insurance participation, and only one in three provided assistance with enrollment outreach,” Andrews wrote.

“In the absence of technical assistance, it is unlikely that addiction treatment programs will fully realize the ACA’s promise to improve access to and quality of addiction treatment.”

The report was published in the journal Health Affairs.

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