How Do I Pay for Addiction Treatment?

Covering The Cost Of Rehab

woman with billsWhen someone decides to go to rehab, one of the first questions they have is “how am I going to pay for it?”

"The cost of rehab is often a deterrent for those who need treatment, but it doesn’t need to be."

The cost of rehab varies widely depending on the level of care needed. Residential treatment programs offer the highest level of care and are often the most expensive as a result. Outpatient treatment programs may cost less, but may not provide enough support for sustained recovery.

Regardless of whether you have health insurance, there is a multitude of options available to help cover rehab costs. If you need help determining your financial options, give us a call now.

Paying for Treatment with Insurance

Most private health plans do cover at least a portion of substance abuse treatment, and some cover it entirely. To learn your carrier’s benefit coverage for residential treatment, call them or visit their website to find out what’s covered.

Many drug treatment centers can do this for you if you’re not sure what to ask. They can find out if they are in your provider network and how many days and what services are covered under your specific plan.

United Healthcare, Cigna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aetna are the four major health insurance companies that cover millions of individuals across the nation. Read more about these major insurance providers and the addiction treatment services they cover.

The Affordable Health Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare)

Under the Affordable Health Care Act, an insurance applicant is no longer penalized for a pre-existing condition, allowing someone who is already battling an addiction to apply for a healthcare policy. Drug and alcohol disorders are included in the ten essential health benefits central to the ACA, which means that these policies must treat addiction and mental health disorders with the same level of importance as any other medical condition.

Dr. Michael S. Shafer sheds some light on how the recent improvements with addiction and insurance plans are helping to save lives.

"…Part of the challenge and part of the promise of the Affordable Care Act has been the requirement that insurance companies provide coverage for diseases like alcoholism. Historically, private insurance companies either limited or denied access to treatment. They would cap the number of days that you could access treatment and would limit insurance payment for alcoholism treatment… What that means is that we can identify and intervene with individuals who are still in the abuse stage of the disease and not the addiction and dependent stage of the disease."

Dr. Michael S. Shafer, Professor at Arizona State University and director of the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy

Depending on the plan you select, ACA-sponsored policies cover between 60 to 90 percent of the cost of rehab services incurred in a drug treatment center.

Health Insurance Marketplace Plan Types
Bronze plans 60 percent expense coverage
Silver plans 70 percent expense coverage
Gold plans 80 percent expense coverage
Platinum plans 90 percent expense coverage
Catastrophic 60 percent total average cost coverage*

*Available only to those under 30 years old or those with extending circumstances

Medicare and Medicaid

Federal and state sponsored health benefits are available for rehab costs for specific segments of the population. These insurance programs can provide payment options for alcohol addiction treatment and each program has different requirements for eligibility.

To be eligible for Medicaid, you must be one of the following:

  • Over the age of 65
  • Under the age of 19
  • Pregnant or a parent
  • Within a specific income range

To be eligible for Medicare, you must be one of the following:

  • Over the age of 65
  • Disabled

Private Funding and Financing

Because the cost of rehab can be quite high depending on the facility and length of stay, it may be necessary to secure private financing for treatment if the individual is uninsured and cannot qualify for federal or state assistance. Some addiction treatment centers may offer scholarships, so it’s a good idea to talk to the admissions office as soon as you decide on a rehab.

If not, the treatment facility may offer financing plans that allow you to make payments after discharge. This arrangement is sometimes offered through a third party lender that can create a loan package. Be sure to discuss financing options with any treatment center being considered.

If you have savings, an IRA or a 401(k) plan, it may be necessary to take out some of that money to cover your treatment program. If your home has equity, you may be able to access that through a home equity loan and use it toward rehab services.

Fundraising or Crowdfunding

Family members may be able to help you pay for rehab as well. Suggest that they make the payment directly to the facility so there will be no question that the funds are being used as intended. Friends may also be able to help raise money for your rehab costs using Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.

State and Local Government Programs

Federally funded, state-run drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs can provide public assistance. Depending on the state, these programs may be a separate agency or they may be included under a larger health or behavioral health department. They can offer both outpatient and inpatient care, as well as aftercare support services.

These public programs will have specific requirements in order for an individual to qualify for assistance, including proof of citizenship; proof of residence in the program’s state; the degree and history of the individual’s addiction; and a demonstrated inability to afford other treatment options based on income and various other factors. There is usually a waiting list to get into these programs, but most will offer some kind of support during the wait for an opening.


One source of federal funding for state addiction treatment programs is one of the block grants provided through SAMHSA. Specifically, the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) offers drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs for specific segments of the population. A few examples of individuals who qualify for this type of grant are pregnant and postpartum women or intravenous drug users.

Selling Items of Value

Due to the importance of getting treatment for a serious substance addiction, it may be necessary to liquidate some non-essential items of value in order to finance the cost of rehab. Items such as sports equipment, digital equipment (cameras, laptops, etc.), collections of art, music equipment, used car or boats, sports memorabilia and jewelry can be sold quickly and easily.

All of these items are non-essential to survival and can provide the funds needed for necessary addiction treatment.

Non-Profit Treatment Centers

There are non-profit addiction treatment programs available at little or no cost. The Salvation Army has a program that requires no payment, but the patient must be willing to work a 40-hour week to pay for their room and board. They work in the warehouses sorting donated items, or help with administrative duties in exchange for a six-month treatment program that is free of charge.

Teen Challenge is a nonprofit that offers addiction treatment for teens and adults at a nominal cost. The facility’s cost differs from location to location, so check your local program to determine the cost of rehab through Teen Challenge.

Getting Started in Treatment

Ultimately, paying for an addiction treatment program is entirely possible. Once you’re ready for treatment, it is just a matter of gathering information and determining the best way to finance your life-changing road to recovery. Contact us now to talk to a treatment specialist about how to pay for rehab.

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