Examining Substance Use Disorder Treatment Demand and Provider Capacity in a Changing Health Care System: Final Report

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy
Dec 05, 2017
Ellen Bouchery

Key Findings:

  • The uninsured rate among people with SUD declined following ACA implementation.
  • The rate of SUD treatment receipt did not increase substantially in the initial years following implementation of the ACA.
  • Lack of perceived need for treatment presents challenges in providing treatment services to those with SUDs.
  • Low wages for SUD treatment providers present challenges in expanding the workforce.
Federal policies implemented in the last decade, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, have promoted insurance coverage for substance use disorders (SUDs). By providing funding for treatment services, these federal policies were intended to increase the proportion of people with SUDs who seek and receive evidence-based treatments. This report presents findings from a study meant to understand how federal policies implemented in the past decade to increase insurance coverage of SUD treatment changed demand for treatment and the state of provider capacity in the SUD treatment field.