Most significantly, this reform does not solely apply to strict medical care and includes mental health care. In fact, by passing this law it is anticipated that mental health care would be effectively expanded to cover an additional 3.7 million previously uninsured Americans (the vast majority of whom are considered to be low-income) (Barry and Huskamp 1). Specifically, the ACA plans to build on the MHPAEA by including mental health services as an Essential Health Benefit (EHB), applying federal parity protections to mental health and SUD benefits in small group markets, and expanding quality health care to a wider population of previously uninsured Americans (Beronio et al. 2). The ACA proposes to expand care by integrating care to patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) and accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are medical care settings in which providers are responsible for the total health (physical and mental) of a specific population. One such Medicaid expansion is the Medicaid “health home” option which will provide treatment to people with multiple chronic conditions which were not reimbursable before the ACA. Notably, this expansion includes mental health care and SUD treatment. The ACA even allotted $50 million to home health and community-based behavioral health treatment settings to integrate mental health services for adults. (Barry and Huskamp 2). The hope is that by using these venues for services, mental health care and medical care will be better integrated, thus incorporating mental health care into primary care and improving its quality and ease of access (Barry and Huskamp 1).
Furthermore, the ACA has established the Prevent...
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...urance companies that do not abide by these guidelines, punishments for insurance companies and providers who do not offer coverage or care based on a pre-existing condition, income status, or co-morbidity, specific protections for patients. These amendments should also eliminate the possibility for profits for insurance companies, thereby making them non-profit organizations that compete for quality of care rather than for profits.
Americans are just now beginning to either benefit from or see the remaining division in mental health care as a result of the ACA. Though the law was formally passed and adopted, it does not ensure universal access to high-quality access to care, and disparities among socioeconomic groups still exist. Implementing more health care regulation and expanding public programs, especially for mental health care will alleviate these concerns.
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