The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced intentions to grant the state of Florida $3 million dollars for the purposes of helping state officials better combat the opioid overdose and addiction problem that runs rampant in the state. Specifically, the money is earmarked to increase the reach and capabilities of drug courts. These programs help to connect people who need it with treatment, and they ultimately save money in the state budget as it is far less costly to treat someone’s addiction than it is to jail them repeatedly as their addiction persists and continually influences their behaviors.
While this is a positive step, it is unfortunately being counteracted by another federal proposal to cut funding for drug treatment services provided to Medicaid recipients. The good news is that this particular piece of legislation is part of a huge remake of the Affordable Care Act that is not well-received by either party; thus, it is less likely to be approved and implemented.
The problem is that there are constant changes taking place when it comes to government funding and support for healthcare measures that deeply impact people who depend on state and federal aid through various programs. Though we do not know what the future holds, we do know that, as of right now, addiction treatment is still covered under the Affordable Care Act, and families are encouraged to quickly take advantage of that fact before further changes are enacted.
Timing is a very high consideration for many families who are trying to determine the best possible way to handle the addiction of a loved one. Many families believe that if their loved one is not ready to recognize the need for treatment, much less consider the option of getting help, that they must wait for the person to hit “rock bottom.” The fact is, however, that “rock bottom” doesn’t really exist. There is no checklist that you can tick off that demonstrates categorically when it’s time for treatment. Instead, the standard is that if use of drugs and alcohol becomes habitual and causes negative consequences, yet the person is still unable to stop or moderate their use, then treatment is needed now. Otherwise, every day is a gamble, and every use can trigger one of a host of consequences that can be life-changing, if not life-ending, either for the individual or someone else.
Why Not Now?
If your loved one fits the criteria listed above, and it is clear that change is needed, why wait to help them connect with treatment? If cost is an issue – as it is for almost every family in this situation – it is far better to get started than to wait if you are counting on health insurance bought under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act. If deductibles and other upfront costs are an issue, consider ways to manage the situation. You can:
- Work overtime or take on an extra part-time job to more quickly pull together the cash.
- Create a tight budget for your household, cut out all the extras, and stick to it to save money.
- Consider selling items that will help you build your savings more quickly.
- Talk to other concerned family members to determine what, if anything, they are able to contribute either as a gift or with the expectation of repayment.
Remember that, while it can be financially difficult to pile up the funds to pay for high deductibles, it is far more expensive to continue living with addiction in your home. Additionally, there is the hope that when your loved one undergoes treatment and is stable again, they will be able to get and maintain employment to assist with household finances.