Those protections include certain minimum essential health benefits that must be offered by health plans, such as preventative services, as well as treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorder. The money also is supposed to help state insurance regulators.
Wednesday's announcement came a week after a report that found that insurance plans across the United States are not offering necessary services for people suffering from addiction, and that two-thirds of certain key "benchmark" Obamacare plans violate the ACA in that regard. Benchmark plans are ones whose monthly premium rate affect the value of subsidies that most Obamacare customers receive if they buy a plan on a government-run marketplace.
"Our findings reveal that people with addiction may not be receiving effective treatment because insurance plans aren't covering the full range of evidence-based care," said Lindsey Vuolo, associate director of Health Law and Policy at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and lead author of the report last week.
"For example, our review did not find a single state that covers all of the approved medications used to treat opioid addiction," she said.
On Wednesday, in response to the grant announcement, Vuolo said, "The states are primarily responsible for enforcing the Essential Health Benefits and parity requirements, so it is encouraging to see the federal government providing financial assistance to help the states carry out their obligations."
"This is a good start. We hope it will help correct some of the problems we identified in our review of the 2017 EHB benchmark plans," Vuolo said. "We also hope it will lead to better addiction treatment coverage for patients insured by ACA plans."