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How to Get Into Rehab Without Insurance

How do you get into rehab if you don’t have drug and alcohol insurance coverage? It’s a difficult question many families face without a clear answer. Fortunately, there are ways you can finance your recovery or that of someone you love, even if you have no insurance coverage for rehabilitation treatment. Read on to learn some of the options you may use to pay for rehab.

What Are the Different Types of Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs?

Before you determine how you’ll finance your recovery, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the drug and alcohol rehab treatment options available. The type of rehab treatment affects the cost, so be sure to explore your options.

Do you need inpatient or outpatient treatment? Inpatient rehab centers require you to live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program, while outpatient treatment allows you to receive treatment during the day and go home at night. Even if you have some type of insurance, determining the treatment option that best suits you will help you narrow your search and understand what the cost will be.

Are There Free Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs?

If you need drug or alcohol rehab and have little or no insurance and very limited resources, state-funded rehab facilities are an option you can pursue. Local- and state-funded rehab centers are tax dollar-funded addiction treatment facilities, so essentially the programs accept money from the government to provide alcohol and drug rehab services to people who otherwise would not be able to afford treatment. Funding sources vary by state, but many local and state-funded programs obtain funding through a combination of federal grants, Medicaid reimbursement, and state budgets.

Most local- and state-funded programs have strict qualification requirements. When you apply to one of these programs, you may be asked to show proof of income, lack of insurance, U.S. citizenship, and residency in the state in which you are looking for treatment.

To begin this process, you can get in touch with your state or local mental health or substance misuse agency. SAMHSA also maintains a Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services that makes it easier to determine who to contact.

Another widely recognized and available treatment center offering free drug rehabilitation services is The Salvation Army. For over 100 years, the Salvation Army’s rehab programs provide emotional, social, and spiritual assistance for those struggling with drug and alcohol problems. Getting admitted into rehab for private treatment would usually require health insurance or setting up a payment option.

How to Pay for Rehab With No Insurance

Even if free rehab treatment isn’t available, there are other routes you can take to get the help you need if you are uninsured for inpatient or outpatient rehab. Here’s a look at some of those options, which will also help if you currently have no money (or can’t afford) to fund your own addiction rehabilitation treatment:

  • Financing
  • Grants and scholarships
  • Subsidized coverage
  • Sliding scale
  • Fundraising
  • Friends and family


Financing is almost always the best option for those who need immediate treatment but don’t have the money or the ability to save and pay treatment bills. It can be very difficult for individuals struggling with an active addiction to maintain a job and save money.

Financing allows you to get the full amount you need to pay for treatment. It sends this amount directly from the bank to the rehab program and provides you with a repayment plan designed to fit your budget after completing treatment.

Unless the loan is taken out for you by a family member who is prepared to start playing right away, your first payment will not be due until after you are out of treatment. Some plans will even give you a 6-month grace period to find a job and get settled before you begin making payments. Be sure to ask about financing options, interest rates, and repayment requirements to ensure that you select the best option for you and don’t end up in a worse financial position than you were in prior to treatment.

Grants and Scholarships

The SAMHSA provides grant funds through the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The grants are non-competitive grants that can help fund your alcohol or drug addiction rehab treatment if you don’t have insurance coverage and are struggling to find a way to pay.1 Make sure to read all of the application requirements on SAMHSA’s website to see if you qualify to receive a grant.

You can also compile a list of treatment centers in your area that are experienced in treating your specific addiction. Contact these facilities and ask if they offer any scholarship or grant opportunities for the underinsured or those without insurance. Some might at least offer partial coverage of treatment costs. Many recovery centers have several scholarships that they can provide to potential patients who aren’t able to finance their recovery on their own.

In addition, you can use Google to search keywords and phrases including “local rehab facility scholarship,” “drug and alcohol rehab grants,” and “scholarships to cover costs of substance abuse rehabilitation.” These searches may direct you to organizations that have funding available to assist in your efforts at improving your personal health.

Looking for scholarships and grants will take time and effort but the funding you have the possibility of obtaining could provide you with the opportunity to pursue your sobriety.

Subsidized Coverage

Many people with lower incomes are unable to afford health insurance, creating an additional barrier when it comes to recovering from addiction. Subsidized coverage provides treatment coverage and reduced premiums to those with low income who are seeking treatment for addiction.

With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, affordable health insurance has become available to more people. As of 2014, most health insurance plans are required to cover mental health and substance use disorder services, as well as rehabilitative and habilitative services.2,3 With the opportunity to obtain more affordable insurance that can include rehabilitation services, you should consider available insurance plans that might provide more reasonably priced treatment plans than you could find without insurance coverage. Click here to check if you qualify for a subsidy from the government.

In addition, there are state-funded rehab centers that may provide an affordable option for you to begin your path to recovery. These state-run programs focus on helping the people who have trouble affording rehab. The money is supplied by the state to the treatment facilities to provide services to the people who need them.4

Sliding Scale

Many addiction treatment programs understand how hard it can be to finance your recovery and want treatment to be accessible to everyone who needs it. They are often willing to work with you to create a personalized cost based on what you can realistically pay based on your income and overall financial status. SAMHSA can provide you with information about facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale for services.5


If the above options aren’t available, you can try fundraising, whether it be by selling personal items or by asking for cash donations. When it comes to your mental health and physical, nothing is more important than achieving and maintaining sobriety. To raise money for your addiction treatment, consider hosting a garage sale for smaller items and selling more expensive items on the internet through an online seller, such as Craigslist, eBay, or OfferUp.

If asking for cash donations, consider creating an account on a crowdfunding platform like IndieGoGo or GoFundMe to receive donations. Some crowdfunding platforms allow you to offer incentives to those who donate to your cause as well.

Friends and Family

Although you may be hesitant to ask friends and family for money to finance your addiction treatment, chances are they are willing to help you make a positive change in your life. You can send personal emails to loved ones explaining your story and what made you want to enter a recovery program.

What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a federal- and state-funded program that provides healthcare coverage to people who meet its eligibility requirements (including income). In most cases, you must qualify for Medicaid based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI).6 This method determines Medicaid eligibility for children, pregnant women, and adults. If you are over age 65, you are exempt from MAGI rules. Medicaid makes addiction treatment more affordable by offering insurance to low-income people based on specific eligibility requirements. Medicaid addiction treatment coverage includes long-term inpatient care, prescription drugs, and outpatient services.7

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a program that is state and federally funded to provide people with the financial resources they need for healthcare. It provides health insurance to people who meet specific age, disability, and income requirements. Does Medicare cover alcohol or drug rehab? Yes, if you need addiction treatment, Medicare healthcare coverage can help with costs and cover at least some parts of your care. Medicare has 3 parts that cover different services for people aged 65 and older and people under 65 who have a disability and meet certain income-based requirements.8 Medicare also works with the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program and Veterans Affairs to provide additional coverage to federal employees and veterans.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded coverage so that more Americans have access to health insurance, including mental health treatment coverage. The ACA ensures that both mental and behavioral health disorders are covered similarly to physical health disorders.9, 10 This includes the treatment of substance use disorders (including detoxification, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, counseling, and additional services.9, 10

With increased coverage through the ACA, people who are struggling with substance use, as well as co-occurring mental health disorders, can obtain drug and alcohol addiction treatment through various rehab programs.

COBRA Coverage

Maintaining your health insurance coverage during job loss can be overwhelming, but there are options available to you. Upon losing job-based coverage, your former employer may offer you COBRA continuation. COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) provides workers and their families with the opportunity to continue the group health coverage that they previously had under their employer’s group health plan—for a limited amount of time.

In order to be eligible for COBRA, you must have insurance that is covered by COBRA, a qualifying event (including job loss), and be a qualified beneficiary. If you have lost your job, your employer will inform you of your eligibility to maintain your insurance through COBRA. You will have at least 60 days to decide if you would like to continue your coverage. Once you have decided to continue your coverage, you will sign up for COBRA, and you will be responsible for paying the entirety of your premium (what was previously covered by you and your employer).

Once you are enrolled in COBRA, you will have the same coverage that you previously had while you were employed. That includes any mental health and substance misuse treatment that was covered through your insurance plan. If you are pursuing treatment while covered by COBRA, treatment facilities will likely need you to fill out a COBRA election form and you will be responsible for paying your premium. Although it might be slightly more complicated than it was when you were employed, unemployment does not mean that you cannot receive the alcohol or drug treatment that you need.

Getting Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

There are ways to get the help you need if you don’t have the means financially. Don’t let a lack of money stop you from living the sober life you deserve. Whether you have insurance or not, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient rehab treatment services. AAC is committed to supporting those struggling with addiction on their journey to recovery. If you are looking for information on addiction treatment, you can contact us 24/7 at to learn more.