Frequently Asked Questions: Paying for Rehab
According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 46.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 16.5%) had a past-year substance use disorder (SUD). However, only 4.1 million people (or 1.5%) actually received addiction treatment in the past year.1 The cost of addiction treatment is often one of the biggest barriers people face when getting the care they need.
Fortunately, there are several ways to pay for rehab. Paying for rehab is possible, even if you don’t have health insurance. Understanding how to pay for rehab is critical if you are seeking addiction treatment.
- State-funded treatment.
- Paying for rehab with private insurance.
- Paying for rehab with public insurance.
- Financing options.
How Much Does Rehab Cost?
Several factors can influence how much rehab costs, including the type of treatment you receive, such as:2
- Detox: While not always necessary, detox can be an important first step in treatment for some patients, especially those at risk of experiencing dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Detox can help manage withdrawal symptoms and prepare you for ongoing treatment in an inpatient or outpatient program.
- Residential/inpatient rehab: This involves living at a facility 24/7 for the duration of treatment. Patients receive around-the-clock care and can expect a combination of behavioral therapy, medication, and participation in support groups.
- Outpatient rehab: With outpatient rehab, you will attend treatment during the day and return home at night. Outpatient programs vary in duration and intensity based on your needs.
- Aftercare: Sometimes referred to as continuing care, aftercare can include individual or group counseling or peer support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Other factors that can influence how much rehab costs include:
- The type of treatment.
- The duration of treatment.
- The location of the facility.
- Amenities offered.
How to Pay for Rehab
Although addiction treatment may seem expensive and out of reach, there are plenty of options when it comes to paying for rehab including:
- Government and state-funded programs.
- Private health insurance.
- Public health insurance.
- Community support.
Government and State-Funded Programs
State-funded rehab programs run on government grants or subsidies to provide addiction treatment to patients. They may offer fewer amenities compared to private treatment programs but still use evidence-based treatments. You can usually find state-funded treatment programs operating in conjunction with court systems, as part of state dependency programs. Facilities may have different requirements to enter the program.
If you have private insurance, consider making an appointment to talk with your doctor about addiction treatment. Your doctor can help assess your addiction treatment needs and provide referrals if necessary. Before beginning addiction treatment, you can check what is and isn’t covered by your insurance plan by:
- Calling the number on the back of your insurance care and speaking with a representative.
- Visiting the patient portal on your insurance company’s website and verifying the details of your plan. Look at your benefits, co-pays, and deductibles.
- Verify your insurance online.
If you don’t have private insurance, you can sign up for public insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) state health insurance exchanges, Medicare, or Medicaid. In 2010, the ACA expanded Medicaid coverage so that people who previously didn’t have insurance could sign up for coverage; a highlight is that all insurance policies sold on the ACA marketplace cover services for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
You can enroll in health insurance by visiting Healthcare.gov and filling out an application. Once you are approved, you can look through the plans available and enroll in one that seems to be the best fit for your needs.
Medicaid is an insurance plan that covers low-income applicants who are:3
- 65 or younger.
- Caring for a child.
- Have significant health needs.
Medicare is a federal insurance program that provides coverage for people who are:
- 65 or older.
- Of any age and living with certain disabilities.
- Of any age and living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
To see if you qualify, you can fill out an application on Medicare.gov. Most people sign up for Medicare around their 65th birthday, but you can visit the Medicare website to view other open enrollment times.
Financing and Sliding Scales
You can still go to rehab without insurance. Rehab centers understand that the high cost of treatment is a major roadblock for most folks seeking treatment. To make rehab more affordable, most centers offer financing options that allow you to pay for rehab in monthly installments rather than lump sums. If this is an option that interests you, you can call around to different rehab centers to ask what types of rehab financing options they have available. Many treatment centers also offer sliding scale programs that allow you to pay what you can instead of paying the same amount as someone who has a much higher income. This helps provide equal access to treatment.
Other ways to pay for addiction treatment include taking out healthcare loans or credit cards to help pay off your balance. Depending on the bank, a healthcare loan may have relatively low-interest rates, which gives you more flexibility in paying it off.
You can also visit the place where you do most of your banking and schedule a meeting with a banker or loan specialist to see what options are available. You could also consider asking friends or family for a personal loan. Depending on your relationship, people close to you may be willing to give you funds to cover the cost of treatment, and you can pay them back when you can.
Many people opt for a credit card with a low-interest rate. They can put the whole balance on the card and pay it back in time. Luckily, there are companies that specialize in healthcare financing.
Make sure to do your research on credit card companies before disclosing your information. Unfortunately, you cannot trust all companies, and some prey on people who are in vulnerable situations. These companies may present an affordable option but later reveal hidden fees or changing interest rates. Ask as much as possible upfront and read the fine print.
If you are attending support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, that can be a good place to ask around and see what people who have been in your shoes did to finance their treatment.
If you are in a position where you are feeling discouraged about your ability to pay for drug treatment, don’t lose hope. Millions of people have found themselves in your shoes, and although the journey ahead seems hard, it is possible to find the funds. Luckily, more community programs are offering scholarships to help people find assistance paying for drug rehab. Below are a few scholarship options to help get you started.
- 10,000 Beds Scholarship Program is an organization that helps individuals struggling with finances find help paying for rehab. The scholarship application includes 25 questions, and you can start your application by clicking here.
- Sobriety Foundation offers a scholarship program to help people pay for rehabilitation services. To see if you are eligible for their scholarship, visit their website and submit an application today to get the process started.
Community Support Groups
If you’re struggling to pay for rehab, there are several types of community support groups you can lean on that don’t require any payment. Community support groups can offer help and resources until you can enter rehab. Some community support groups you can reach out to include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) helps people struggling with alcohol use and who wish to stop drinking. You can locate a meeting center near you or an online support group.
- Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) help people struggling with prescription or illicit drugs. You can find a meeting center near you or find an online support group by searching for the local helpline or website.
- SMART Recovery helps people struggling with addiction by hosting group therapy sessions. Meetings are help in-person or online.