When Obamacare was being rolled out, people with pre-existing medical conditions were rejoicing. For the first time, people with pre-existing medical conditions had a chance to get affordable health insurance. People with a poor financial status had a chance to get government subsidies that pretty much offset the entire expense. It was thought that people dealing with substance abuse would also receive better treatment. In the same boat were people who were diagnosed with substance abuse. After nearly one year since the Obamacare rollout, let’s take a look at how the situation has changed for people undergoing substance abuse treatment.
A bird’s eye view of the situation reveals that the Obama administration’s plan to prevent substance abuse from becoming a discrimination ground is not going well. Health plans have already made use of the loopholes available around the mandate and have virtually made substance abuse out of reach for people with new health plans. This time, the health plans have placed extremely high deductibles for these people, and some have even removed substance abuse treatment from individual plans.
For substance abuse treatment, health plans have established deductibles as high as $25,000, which is out of reach for most people. After these deductibles, rehabilitation centers are not sure when the insurance coverage kicks in. And again, the coverage for people undergoing this lengthy treatment is usually two or three weeks, while the complete procedure can last up to three months, or 12 to 13 weeks. Another problem is the perspective of health insurance plans on the case of substance abuse. Insurance plans are viewing substance abuse as a pre-existing condition that cannot be treated easily and are shying away from the whole affair.
On the other hand, several insurance plans are trying to cut corners on this front by opting to cover only the cheapest treatment methods. Outpatient treatment programs for substance abuse, although not especially effective but cost one third of inpatient treatment, have been endorsed by insurance plans.
While it is still too early to pass a judgment on this, the overall picture does not look good. True, there are some insurance plans that are covering full substance abuse treatment. For residential treatment, 15 to 20 percent of participating health plans are willing to provide a large amount. Cigna and Aetna are a few of those 20 percent. These insurance plans are delivering the benefits of Obamacare preexisting condition mandate to people by covering a large chunk of their substance abuse treatment. But unfortunately, these insurance plans are too few.
Generally, the people who are availing substance abuse treatment under Obamacare are getting a raw deal, with only primitive methods assisting them in their recovery. The true benefits of Obamacare still haven’t reached the people who need them the most.