6 Important Things About The Affordable Care Act And The Opioid Epidemic

As a new administration continues settling in at the nation’s capital, the topics of addiction treatment, mental health coverage, health insurance, and the opioid epidemic are becoming one. The groundbreaking Affordable Care Act provided insurance to millions of people who had never been able to afford it before. Additionally, within even that state supported medical insurance, people were given access to addiction treatment. In 2015, more than 30,000 people died at the hands of opioids. As addiction treatment and recovery from opioid addiction becomes more normalized, the time is vulnerable as well as critical for ongoing coverage and access to care.


  • The ACA mandates that both mental health and addiction treatment be regarded as “essential benefits”. Essential benefits means that insurnace companies cannot discriminate against providing benefits for mental health and addiction treatment. They are seen to be as critical as appointments with cardiologists followed by cardiovascular surgery.
  • Almost 3 million people with substance use disorders are covered through ACA programs. Addiction treatment has long since been considered a luxury for those who could afford it. True to its name, the Affordable Care Act not only made health coverage affordable, it made addiction treatment both affordable and accessible.
  • Opioid addiction treatment has become more accessible for people under the ACA. Opioid addiction is highly fatal. Without medically assisted detox, and long term treatment, those addicted to opioids stand a lowered risk of recovery and survival. Over a million people gained access to treatment, at least 200,000 of them seeking treatment for opioid addiction.
  • Repealing the ACA could result in a $5 billion loss for opioid addiction treatment. The addiction treatment industry is thriving because of its ability to work with insurance companies and provide people the mental health care they need. Without a substantial replacement plan, or the coverage provided by ACA, the entire industry will suffer- meaning the estimated tens of millions of people struggling with addiction will once again be left without access to treatment.
  • ACA demands small employers to provide mental health benefits. Health insurance which is gained through the workplace is required to provide mental health care benefits, meaning even small time or private jobs still grant access to addiction treatment.
  • Without ACA insurance rates can triple, leaving people without affordable access to addiction treatment. When insurance is left without the regulation of the Affordable Care Act, rates in areas where the opioid epidemic is most severe could see rates triple in their cost.

LEAD Recovery Center is committed to continuing quality care, service, and affordable cost to those seeing extended care options for treatment in order to secure a sober and autonomous future. For more information on our intensive outpatient treatment programs, call us today at 800-380-0012.