Affordable Care Act Makes Addiction Prevention Efforts Free under Insurance Policies

First Lady Michelle Obama announced the new Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, which ensures that such preventive services as tobacco cessation and alcohol counseling are covered under all new health insurance policies at no cost to consumers.

The newly instated federal health care law requires that health insurance plans created on or after September 23, 2010, provide free preventive screenings and services without cost-sharing in an effort to guarantee important health care provisions that can help prevent or treat serious diseases and disorders.

Michelle Obama was accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary of Health Human Services Kathleen Sebelius during her introduction of the healthcare reform bill at the GW Medical Faculty Associates.

Depending on age and type of health insurance plan, Americans will now have free access under the new health plans to counseling for alcohol abuse, tobacco cessation, depression, overeating, quitting smoking and drinking during pregnancy, and] child services including screening and counseling for behavioral or developmental disorders, depression, and obesity. Also included under the recommended preventive services are vaccines for common illnesses and screenings for chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, heart disease, STDs, HIV/AIDS, and other conditions that can be exacerbated by drug and alcohol use.

The White House has recognized the lack of preventive services available to the American population that have the potential of preventing, reducing, or eradicating chronic conditions thanks to early detection and intervention. Because the cost of health care hinders many Americans from seeking treatment, almost half of the population does not receive the care they need to live productive lives and maintain a healthy lifestyle. When basic preventive services are denied, conditions can worsen or diagnoses can go undetected, exposing individuals to greater health risks and premature mortality. The leading causes of death among Americans are among the most preventable conditions, including heart disease and cancers, yet they still account for 7 out of 10 deaths in the U.S. and 75% of health care costs.

The Obama Administration predicts that the Affordable Care Act will immediately help about 40 million Americans to receive the health care they need, and around 88 million people by the year 2013. Under the new federal health care law, more individuals and their families in desperate need of counseling or inpatient treatment for substance abuse and mental health conditions will be lessened by the burden of costs and restrictions. To find out which health insurance plans will qualify for these changes taking effect in September, visit

Posted on July 16th, 2010

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