The Issue

Residential treatment is a vital component on the continuum of substance use disorder (SUD) care.  The IMD exclusion in Medicaid is a significant barrier for low-income individuals to access residential SUD care.   In addition, many private insurance plans have historically excluded residential SUD services from coverage.  Policy advocacy in Washington and around the country is necessary to ensure that residential SUD treatment is available for people who need it.

Current Initiatives

  • Advocating to ensure residential SUD services are available to those who need them.

Policy Recommendations

  • Good coverage for residential treatment: All private and public health coverage should cover and provide medically necessary residential SUD treatment.
  • No limits on duration of treatment: Individuals should be able to access the care they need for as long as clinically appropriate, without undue barriers or burdens.
  • No bed limits for residential substance use disorder treatment: The IMD (Institutions for Mental Diseases) exclusion in Medicaid should be modified to ensure that people in need of residential SUD care can access this critical level of care.
  • Full parity implementation and aggressive enforcement: The federal mental health and addiction parity law, whose implementing regulations include explicit protections for people with private insurance who need access to residential SUD services, should be fully implemented and enforced by the federal government and the states.
  • Strong safety net funding: Funding for safety net programs, including the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, should be strengthened to cover substance use services, interventions, and strategies that are not fully covered by health care reform and to protect people who remain uninsured.

Learn More

To learn more about this issue, visit our Substance Use Resources.

To learn more about LAC’s impact, see our Accomplishments.

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