New data gathered by government officials suggests that there is a strong need for many Americans to have better access to addiction treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. The Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Initiative suggests that there are millions of Americans who currently do not have coverage that would pay for inpatient or outpatient treatment as needed. If the health care reform is implemented properly however, this could help to remove some of the financial stress that some experience when it comes to paying for dependency treatment.
It is estimated that more than 23 million people in the United States are addicted to drugs or alcohol. That is roughly 1 out of every 10 people in the nation who are over 12 years of age. Only a little over 10 percent of those who are addicted however, actually receive treatment and while there are many reasons why treatment may not be sought, one of the main reasons is cost.
Society in general, along with the nation’s healthcare system, has been slow to respond to drug and alcohol addiction as an actual treatable condition. While it does take time to overcome addiction, it can be done and when Americans have access to health insurance that will allow them to afford treatment, many feel that more and more of them will begin searching for that treatment. With the healthcare reform, many hope that this change will happen soon. Allowing people access to coverage for addiction facilities, both inpatient and outpatient, will help to raise the percentage of addicted Americans who are actually actively seeking treatment to end their chronic disease.
The gap of more than 20 million Americans who are not receiving the treatment that they need is staggering. The number one reason cited by most who are not getting this treatment is cost. Lack of insurance forces some to forgo treatment and simply attempt to deal with their addiction on their own. Among those who are able to get treatment, nearly 50 percent claim that they are paying for that treatment out of pocket, without any help from insurance.
Funding for treatment of addiction comes primarily from government sources, as opposed to other chronic diseases. About 77 percent of treatment costs are currently being paid by local, state or federal government agencies including Medicare and Medicaid. Private insurance companies account for only about 10 percent of all treatment costs and out of pocket costs along with other private funding make up the rest of the total. Private insurance on the other hand, pays for about 37 percent the general medical costs that are incurred by Americans, quite a contrast to the small cost that they pay for addiction treatment.
Screening for dependency and treatment are not costs that have been integrated into the nation’s healthcare delivery system. Only about 6 percent of those who are currently receiving treatment were referred to treatment facilities by another healthcare provider. More than 70 percent of those who are currently seeking treatment however, chose the facility themselves or were sent there through the criminal justice system.