Mental Health and the Affordable Care Act Coverage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that mental disorders and substance abuse problems continue to affect millions of American citizens (Golden & Vail, 2014). Most of the patients affected by these conditions do not have access to quality medical support and psychotherapy. Over 23 million of American citizens have been reported to suffer from drug or alcohol addiction (Golden & Vail, 2014). Unfortunately, only around 10 percent of the affected individuals have access to sustainable treatment. Statistics have indicated clearly that more people will go without proper medical attention in the future unless adequate measures are put in place (Croft & Parish, 2012). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has gone further to present unique provisions that can support the needs of many individuals with mental health and drug abuse disorders. This discussion gives a detailed analysis of the impact of the ACA on drug abuse and mental health patients.

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The ACA and Mental Health

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has presented various provisions that can ensure more people with mental disorders receive quality care and medical coverage. The first provision suggested by this law is to ensure employer-based health insurance plans support mental health (Golden & Vail, 2014). This means that various insurance plans available in the marketplace will address the mental health needs of many patients. This development will definitely support the lifestyles and experiences of many people with a wide range of mental disorders.

The existing insurance plans will be redesigned in such a way that they offer disease management services to individuals who are in need of behavioral therapies or changes. This provision is necessary because most of the mental disorders have been associated with drug addiction or substance overuse (Croft & Parish, 2012). The law goes further to indicate that healthcare plans should cater for preventive measures or services. The law is aimed at ensuring that more individuals are screened for various mental conditions or problems. The services should also be available to both children and adults at no extra medical cost (Ligon, 2013). By the year 2014, most of the insurance plans available in the country were able to support the health needs of patients with preexisting mental diseases or conditions. With proper implementation, it is agreeable that the ACA will eventually maximize the number of citizens who receive quality mental health support and services.

The ACA and Substance Abuse

The ACA has been supported by many professionals and experts because it presents several provisions that have the potential to expand the quality of services available to more people with various substance abuse disorders. To begin with, the law requires different states to offer adequate treatment to new Medicaid enrollees. This means that Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to cover more people from low-income backgrounds. This means that individuals with mental disorders or substance abuse conditions will benefit significantly from the expansion. The law is also expected to deal with the disparity experienced in the country (Ligon, 2013). This is the case because many victims of substance abuse do not receive quality care. The law proposes that Medicaid benefits should be expanded to support more chidlren and adults affected by substance abuse.

The existing insurance plans have been denying coverage to persons who have preexisting substance abuse conditions or disorders. The law is expected to prohibit any form of exclusion. Consequently, more substance abusers will be able to receive quality support or psychotherapy. The law has presented numerous funds to expand the performance of many community heath institutions or centers (Croft & Parish, 2012). For instance, the law has supported the creation of over 550 healthcare centers that support the health needs of many people affected by the problem of substance abuse (Golden & Vail, 2014). The number of these health centers is expected to increase and eventually deliver quality support to more people in need of drug disorder services (Ligon, 2013).

The Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) network has been guided by the ACA law to offer coordinated and affordable care to victims of substance abuse. Individuals affected by the condition will eventually record positive health results (Golden & Vail, 2014). The ACA goes further to offer new strategies for implementing new preventative measures. With proper funding, the National Prevention Strategy will be able to prevent the misuse of various alcoholic drinks and drugs. The law has presented adequate funds to ensure more people with substance abuse disorders receive quality medical support.

Concluding Remarks

Ligon (2013) believes strongly that the ACA is capable of supporting the diverse health needs of different citizens with substance abuse and mental disorders. The existing marketplace insurance plans have been expanded to cover the essential needs of many patients in the country. The law therefore requires insurers, government-sponsored programs, and marketplace plans to offer substance use and mental health disorder benefits (Golden & Vail, 2014). Consequently, more patients affected by different mental disorders and substance abuse conditions will be able to receive quality medical support. This will also be the case for patients who have preexisting mental and drug abuse conditions.

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References

Croft, B., & Parish, S. (2012). Care integration in the patent protection and Affordable Care Act: Implications for behavioral health. Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 1(1), 1-6. Web.

Golden, R., & Vail, M. (2014). The implications of the Affordable Care Act for mental health care. Journal of the American Society on Aging, 1(1), 1-16. Web.

Ligon, K. (2013). The Affordable Care Act and mental health. CPPP, 1(1), 1-21. Web.

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