Affordable Care Act May Help New Jersey Parents of Addicted Teens

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Daytop New Jersey encouraged by Affordable Care Act inclusion for treatment of adolescent mental illness and addiction.

A comprehensive treatment program for teens struggling with recovery.

“Everyone dealing with the care of addicted adolescents should be encouraged by precedents set by the Affordable Care Act even if they object to the Act itself.” - James P. Curtin, Executive Director of Daytop New Jersey.

For many parents, constantly thinking about how they cannot afford care for the mental health and addiction problems of their children is frustrating and demoralizing. James P. Curtin, Executive Director of Daytop New Jersey, the well-known adolescent recovery program and preparatory school located in Mendham, NJ says, “Everyone dealing with the care of addicted adolescents should be encouraged by precedents set by the Affordable Care Act even if they object to the Act itself.” Mr. Curtin points out that the Affordable Care Act has the potential to enable millions of young adults dealing with mental and substance abuse disorders to gain access to treatment. Treatment providers certainly hope to be able to provide highly effective care to the many that have previously been unable to access it.

Because of the law, health plans must now cover preventive services like behavioral assessments for children at no cost. And starting in 2014, most plans are not able to deny coverage or charge more due to pre-existing health conditions, including mental illness and addiction disorders.In the past, it was legal for insurance plans to treat such behavioral health disorders differently than medical and surgical needs. Plans must now cover 10 categories of essential health benefits, including hospitalization, prescriptions, and care for mental illness including preventive services, such as screenings for depression and alcohol abuse, as well as behavior assessments for children, at no out-of-pocket cost.

The health care law allows young people to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26 which allows approximately 73,000 young adults in New Jersey to gain insurance including the provisions for coverage for mental and addiction disorders. Mr. Curtin says, “Ages 16 to 25 is often when substance abuse and mental health disorders first emerge, and can also occur concurrently, so this is a critical time for young adults to have access to insurance coverage for medical evaluation.” Mr. Curtin notes that the Affordable Care Act may not cover the in-depth treatment programs provided by Daytop New Jersey, but that getting adolescents evaluated early is critical to their successful treatment.

Mr. Curtin is also encouraged by President Obama’s call for a national dialogue on mental health to let people know it is okay to talk about mental illness and to ask for help. The Administration launched to help people find easy-to-understand information about the basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental illness, and where to locate help. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supports a range of prevention, medications and medical care, and recovery support services.

Mr. Curtin suggests that the millions of families effected by adolescent addiction spread the word that treatment works, that recovery is real and that insurance is now available to thousands to assist in evaluation and treatment.

At Daytop New Jersey, the primary goal is to help adolescents reclaim lives turned chaotic by all of the problems associated with their substance abuse, and help families to restore stability and harmony to their family structure. For more information about Daytop New Jersey or to make a donation, please visit, or contact Terry Carroll at 973-543-5656 ext. 749 or email tcarroll(at)daytopnj(dot)org.

About Daytop New Jersey
Daytop New Jersey is a comprehensive treatment program for teens struggling with recovery. The program is individualized, family-based, cost-effective, peer-oriented and multi-disciplinary in nature. Special emphasis is placed on treating those adolescents without adequate financial resources and/or in need of an alternative to incarceration. The Daytop Preparatory School is the realization of the mission begun by Daytop New Jersey’s founder, Rev. Joseph H. Hennen in 1992 when Daytop opened its doors offering a program tailored specifically to the needs of adolescents with substance abuse and resulting behavioral problems. Daytop New Jersey now operates five drug treatment centers and each year serves hundreds of teens, aged 13 to 19 years, from 21 counties in New Jersey in both residential and outpatient settings. Additionally, Daytop now provides services, on an outpatient basis, to adults at both of their outpatient facilities located in Hunterdon and Morris.

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Michael Buonauro
Daytop New Jersey
+1 973-239-1998 Ext: 3
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