Affordable Care Act Expands Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits and Federal Parity Protections for 62 Million Americans . 3. Increasing Access to Quality Health Care


Finally, the Affordable Care Act will expand insurance coverage to a projected 27 million previously uninsured Americans through access to private health insurance in the individual and small group markets, the Marketplaces, and Medicaid.12  Essential Health Benefits, including mental health and substance use disorder services subject to parity requirements, will be available to this newly covered population.

In total, through the Affordable Care Act, 32.1 million Americans will gain access to coverage that includes mental health and/or substance use disorder benefits that comply with federal parity requirements and an additional 30.4 million Americans who currently have some mental health and substance abuse benefits will benefit from the federal parity protections.  By building on the structure of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the Affordable Care Act will extend federal parity protections to 62 million Americans.

Increasing Access to Quality Health Care

Increasing Access to Quality Health Care

Individuals who will gain mental health, substance use disorder, or both benefits under the Affordable Care Act, including federal parity protectionsIndividuals with existing mental health and substance use disorder benefits who will benefit from federal parity protections
Individuals currently in individual plans3,900,0007,100,000
Individuals currently in small group plans1,200,00023,300,000
Individuals currently uninsured27,000,000


NOTE: These estimates include individuals and families who are currently enrolled in grandfathered coverage. Grandfathered plans are not required to comply with the Essential Health Benefits provisions of the Affordable Care Act. We note that, as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, we expect grandfathered coverage to diminish, particularly in the individual market.

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