How to Pay for Rehab

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When you are struggling with a substance use disorder, one of your first thoughts might be how to pay for rehab. This is a natural concern for many since they’re not sure if health insurance covers the cost of rehab. However, whether you are paying for treatment with insurance or not, there are plenty of payment options that will help defray the cost of addiction rehab services. Insurance and costs should not prevent you from seeking the recovery that will put you on the path to greater health and well-being.

Given the many types of addiction treatment rehab programs and facilities, you have a good chance of finding a payment arrangement that is right for you. Finding the best treatment program and payment option can give you greater peace of mind knowing you are moving forward with your recovery.


Addiction Treatments and Cost of Rehab 

When you begin a recovery program for substance use disorder, you’ll find that there are several levels of addiction treatment. You may need more than one treatment regimen before you are finished with your addiction program. Depending on your situation, you may transition from a more intense program to a less intense treatment program. Each level of addiction treatment offers a different approach to the treatment, and where you start depends on your condition. The various levels of addiction treatment are as follows:

  • Medical detox. Medication helps ease the discomfort people can feel while going through the withdrawal symptoms of discontinued substance use, making it more bearable.1 Some of the medications approved for detox include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.1 For alcohol withdrawal, medications such as benzodiazepines can help lower the risk for certain complications such as seizures or delirium as well as help relieve withdrawal symptoms.
  • Inpatient treatment. This type of addiction treatment is available for patients who need 24-hour supervision by medical and mental health care staff. It is conducted in a licensed facility, with a place to house the residents safely.1
  • Partial hospitalization treatment. Many patients may opt for partial hospitalization, similar to inpatient, but you can reside in your own home at night.2
  • Outpatient treatment. If an individual does not require 24/7 care, they can participate in a standard outpatient program.3
  • Intensive outpatient treatment. An intensive outpatient program offers treatment on a regular basis throughout the week, providing several hours of behavioral therapy.3

Free drug and alcohol rehab centers are intended to help people with substance abuse problems who do not have the means to pay for addiction treatment.When considering the cost of addiction treatment, you need to factor in the many variables that go into a substance abuse program. Some of these factors include the severity of your condition, what substances you were taking, what type of program you will need, and how long you will need treatment. Other issues that are shown to impact costs include:4

  • Larger treatment programs usually have lower costs per client.
  • When a patient stays longer, there may be higher costs for episodes, but the overall daily costs are lower.
  • If a patient visits more frequently, they will have increased costs.
  • Larger programs for methadone and residential treatment are linked with lower per-client costs.

How Do I Pay for Addiction Treatment?

If you’re wondering how to pay for drug rehab, rest assured that there are many different options. As an example of how individuals pay for their addiction treatment, the following list was derived from 2017 data from the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. It will give you an idea as to the various methods that can be used to help cover the costs of addiction rehab:5

  • 12,248 people paid with cash.
  • 9,531 people used private health insurance.
  • 4,767 people used Medicare.
  • 8,685 people used Medicaid.
  • 6,415 people used state-financed health insurance.
  • 4,638 people had Federal military insurance.
  • 8,024 people received a sliding scale fee.

Paying for Rehab with Health Insurance

Health insurance is one of the most common ways to cover the costs of drug or alcohol rehab. When you verify your insurance with a rehab facility, they will let you know your insurance status and whether their facility is in-network or not. However, even when using insurance, you may have some out-of-pocket costs associated with treatment, such as:

  • Co-pays. A co-payment is a set amount you pay when receiving a covered health service.6
  • Deductibles. This is the amount you pay before your health insurance begins to pay.7
  • Other out-of-pocket costs. These are other costs that might not be covered by health insurance that you will have to pay for out-of-pocket.

The following list of insurance companies may be able to assist with all or some of the costs for substance abuse rehab services:

The Affordable Care Act

Insurance providers with marketplace plans must abide by the mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).8 The ACA guarantees people receive coverage for essential benefits.8 Among these essential benefits is coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment.9

In addition, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act is a law passed by Congress that guarantees that people with mental health or addiction issues receive just as good of care as they would for physical impairments.10

Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid are government-funded health insurance plans that can assist with paying for drug rehab.

  • Medicare is primarily for people over the age of 65, although younger people with certain disabilities may qualify too.11
  • Medicaid is available through your state and is a program based on a person’s income. Those with lower incomes usually qualify. You can check with your state to find out the income guidelines.12

Financing and Private Funding

If you are unable to use health insurance for addiction rehab or have additional costs that need to be covered, you can opt to finance part or all of these costs by securing a loan. You may be able to obtain a private loan from family or friends or go a more traditional route. Additionally, some people find success using platforms such as GoFundMe.


Local and State-funded Rehab Programs

Substance abuse rehab centers receive some funding from state and local grants, which originate at the federal level.13 Consequently, state funds help rehabs offer treatment at a reduced cost or even free to people struggling with addiction.

The eligibility requirements for state-funded rehab vary by state, so it’s best to check with the rehab center in your area for information about what financial grants and programs they offer. Some of the types of treatment programs you can find at a state-funded rehab facility include:

  • Inpatient treatment, where you will have 24-hour care in a residential setting with an inpatient program.
  • Partial hospitalization treatment, where you get the benefit of an inpatient program, but can go home at night.2
  • Outpatient treatment, which can be intensive or standard, depending on the need.3
  • Aftercare, which may be the next step for you once you’ve completed a medical detox program.

Paying for Rehab Without Insurance

You have options to help you pay for substance abuse rehab. Several states offer programs and grants to assist people without insurance. According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services,5

  • 7,238 substance abuse facilities received federal, state, local, or county funds for the program,
  • 6,036 facilities didn’t charge any fee for clients who couldn’t afford it, and
  • 8,024 facilities offered a sliding fee scale.

While rehab can seem overwhelming and expensive, there are many ways you can afford treatment. Don’t let the cost of rehab stop you from seeking treatment to start on your path toward recovery.


Additional Resources on Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Whether you’re looking for a specific type of rehab treatment, substance related information, or additional guides, here are a few recommended resources.


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American Addiction Centers
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Jennifer Fifield is a Senior Web Content Editor at American Addiction Centers and an addiction content expert for drugabuse.com and recovery.org. She holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and a master’s degree in Health Promotion Management. Jennifer has served as a content editor on numerous articles, web pages, and blog posts within the medical, dental, and vision industry. She has 15+ years of experience in higher education including writing/editing, administrative, and teaching positions within the health/wellness, accreditation, and health communications areas.
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