There are recovering alcoholic health insurance options. One businessman who started his own insurance agency is also a recovering alcoholic. He recognized the need for such a service as many recovering alcoholics were being denied coverage.
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Many insurance agencies will cover recovering alcoholics provided they meet certain criteria. Many recovering alcoholics are fortunate to be able to purchase health insurance through their employer. However, recovering alcoholics often have to purchase their own private health insurance, which can be challenging.
What is an alcoholic?
An alcoholic is defined as anyone who cannot stop drinking alcohol regardless of the effects it has on their home life, work life, social life, physical or mental health. Your medical history will reflect your alcohol recovery if you pursued help through a:
- Mental health provider
- Medical health provider
Many health care providers will prescribe medications to help a recovering alcoholic according to MedlinePlus. The medications that may be prescribed to help with alcohol addiction are Acamprosate, Naltrexone, and Disulfiram.
Why do health insurance companies not want to cover alcoholics?
Health insurance companies often do not want to cover alcoholics due to the medical expenses that often occur due to the affects alcoholism has on the body. For instance, cirrhosis of the liver may occur, as well as:
- Heart disease
- Stomach bleeding
- Neurological disorders
Alcoholism can also cause severe birth defects to the fetus if the alcoholic drinks while pregnant.
Alcohol addiction can be costly to insurance companies when the benefits of the policy include addiction recovery. According to an article from HBO.com, all states are required to provide health insurance policies with benefits to help pay for treatment for alcoholics except for:
However, even insurance companies, which are required to offer coverage, often deny it. Policyholders have to fight with their insurance companies to receive the coverage for the treatment they need.
Where can I find insurance agencies that specialize in policies for recovering alcoholics?
According to The New York Times, many agencies that offer health insurance to recovering alcoholics market their products at Alcoholics Anonymous, through churches, and the American Medical Association.
Regardless of the type of health insurance policy you find, be prepared to pay a higher premium. Recovering alcoholics are often charged more on their policies because of the risk factor. Insurance is all about risk, and a recovering alcoholic poses a higher risk due to the health problems that can occur or the chance of falling back into the addiction and having to go back into rehab.
What do I need to provide to the insurance company to obtain coverage?
First, you should always be honest when obtaining insurance. In fact, one particular insurance agency requires consistent attendance at support group meetings. The insurance agency may also request affidavits from friends, family, employers, and health care professionals regarding the length of sobriety. Currently, some insurance agencies require a minimum of six years of sobriety before issuing an insurance policy.
What if I cannot find an insurance company that will insure a recovering alcoholic?
If you need assistance in receiving treatment for alcoholism or for finding an insurance company that will offer coverage to a recovering alcoholic, you can contact the National Alliance for Model State Drug Lawsor by calling (703) 836-6100.
How will the Affordable Care Act affect recovering alcoholics?
The Affordable Care Act will help recovering alcoholics in that they can no longer be denied for a pre-existing condition like alcoholism. Many alcoholics complain that when they are honest about being a recovering alcoholic, they are declined health insurance coverage. Other recovering alcoholics lie about their past, and when medical records are received, the policyholders are dropped because of their pre-existing conditions.
According to the White House Blog, beginning in 2014, individuals cannot be denied coverage if they suffer from a pre-existing condition.
In addition to insurance companies no longer being able to deny recovering alcoholics health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act mandates that treatment for alcoholism must be part of the insurance plan. The coverage is explained under the Residential Addiction Treatment/Health Care Reform memorandum and on the Parity Act memorandum.
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