Health Reform Basics

Understand how the health care law will significantly improve insurance coverage for people with mental health challenges and substance use disorders.

What is Health Reform?

“Health reform” refers to changes or improvements in health care policies. Recent health care reforms focus on improving health care while making it less expensive for individuals, families, and businesses. Two pieces of legislation that will significantly improve health care for those with mental health challenges and substance use disorders are the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is one aspect of a broader movement toward reforming the health care system. The Affordable Care Act makes health insurance more affordable for individuals, families, and small business owners. People living with mental health challenges or substance use disorders often have problems getting private health insurance. Now there are special insurance protections to help.

Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires insurance groups offering coverage for mental health or substance use disorders to make these benefits comparable to general medical coverage. Deductibles, copays, out-of-pocket maximums, treatment limitations, etc., for mental health or substance use disorders must be no more restrictive than the same requirements or benefits offered for other medical care.

Learn More About Health Care Reform

SAMHSA Produced Webinars

Essential Health Benefits

Eligibility and Enrollment

Other Resources

Last Updated: 06/25/2014