Many individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction do not seek treatment because of the cost. But even for those who do not have health insurance or cannot pay for the overall costs of rehab, there are addiction treatment options. These options include the programs provided by state-funded rehab centers.
Last year, only 11% of the over 21 million Americans in need of clinical addiction care received treatment at a rehab facility.1 About 1 in 3 people who needed but did not receive substance abuse treatment reported a lack of healthcare coverage or simply not being able to afford the cost.1
According to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2017 there were over 2 million admissions to facilities that receive state alcohol and/or drug agency funds for the provision of rehab treatment services.2
What is State-Funded Rehab?
State-funded rehab centers are addiction treatment facilities that are funded by tax dollars. Essentially, these state-funded programs accept money from the government in order to provide drug and alcohol rehab services to people who would otherwise be unable to afford such treatments.
The specific sources of funding can vary by state, although many of these programs receive their funding through a combination of federal grants, reimbursement through Medicaid, and state budgets.
Access to Rehab with Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid are health insurance programs funded by the state and federal government that provide treatment for use disorder treatment.3,4 Medicare is available to Americans over the age of 65 regardless of income and some people who are under 65, depending on individual cases.4 Medicaid is available to low-income individuals, with eligibility requirements dependent on the state of residency.4 Many state-funded drug rehabs accept Medicare and Medicaid.
Access to Rehab Through the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded coverage so that more Americans have access to health insurance—which includes mental health treatment coverage. Under the ACA, both mental and behavioral health disorders are covered similarly to physical health disorders.5,6 This includes the treatment of substance use disorders (including detoxification, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, counseling, and additional services.5,6
Who is Eligible for State-Funded Rehab?
Most state-funded rehab programs have strict eligibility requirements. When applying to these programs, you may be asked to show proof of US citizenship, income, lack of insurance, and residency within the state that you are seeking rehab treatment.
How Quickly Will Treatment Begin?
State-funded rehab centers have limited availability and may be difficult to get into. If you are deemed eligible for state-funded rehab, there is a good chance that you will be put on a waiting list until a spot in a program becomes available for you. The wait to begin treatment once you have been accepted into a program can take a couple of weeks up to several months.
Pros and Cons of State-Funded Rehab
There are both positive and negative aspects of state-funded rehabilitation.
Pros of State-Funded Rehab
Most state-funded rehab programs offer treatment to eligible individuals at a very low cost or even free of charge. Because of these programs, many individuals are able to get the professional help that they need at a price they can afford.
A great benefit of state-funded rehab centers is that the provided treatment is evidence-based and proven to be effective. These rehab centers also employ properly trained staff and certified professionals who are more than capable of helping you overcome your addiction.
While attending a state-funded rehab program, you will be surrounded by other participants who are also struggling with addiction. This is an extremely beneficial aspect of these programs, as it helps to show that you are not alone and allows you to talk with others who are going through a similar experience.
Cons of State-Funded Rehab
Due to the limited capacity of state-funded rehab facilities, it is common to have to wait until an opening becomes available before you can join a treatment program. On this same note, some patients reportedly feel that they are released from these programs early in order to open up a spot for another individual.
With limited budgets, many state-funded rehab centers are unable to invest in costly upgrades to their facilities and treatment methodologies. These programs often use older technologies and outdated techniques that might not be as effective as the more recent developments in addiction science that are being utilized by private rehab centers.
Another disadvantage of state-funded rehab is the perceived lack of privacy. Because these programs are in essence run by government institutions, many patients may feel uncomfortable sharing personal information concerning their addiction. This reluctance to be open during therapy can hinder the effectiveness of their rehab treatment or lead to premature departure from the program.
Video: State-Funded Rehab
Credit: American Addiction Centers
How Does State-Funded Rehab Compare?
The overall distribution of funding to these rehab centers varies from state to state, and the types of treatment and services that are provided can vary between different programs within the same state. Most state-funded rehab centers will only offer short-term programs (such as detoxification or medical management), although some rehab centers also offer long-term treatment that includes both outpatient and residential care.
State-funded rehab is generally more bare bones compared to the treatment provided through private facilities. Whereas some private rehab programs offer luxury hotel-like amenities such as swimming, art classes, yoga, chef-prepared meals, and nature excursions, many state-funded centers will only provide basic services like counseling, behavioral therapy, addiction classes, and onsite drug tests.
What is the Cost Difference Between State and Private Rehab?
The cost of treatment in a state-funded rehab center is substantially lower than in a private facility, and many programs are offered to individuals at no cost.
The actual cost of treatment will depend on an individual’s qualification for the program and the types of treatment and services that are required.
How Do I Find a State-Funded Rehab Facility Near Me?
SAMHSA provides a directory of Single State Agencies (SSAs) for substance use services, the state government agencies that coordinate the delivery of services to individuals with substance use disorders.7
Although SSAs are also responsible for providing substance use prevention services and guidance to the entire population of their state, a large majority of their resources are dedicated to providing addiction treatment to individuals who are uninsured or have low incomes.8 Using the information found in this directory, you can contact the corresponding agency in your state to find out if you qualify for any of their funded programs.
Once you determine the state-funded rehab programs that you may be eligible to enroll in, you can narrow down the list of treatment facilities in your state to those that most closely meet your needs.
The Treatment Services Locator, provided by SAMHSA, is a useful tool that allows you to find nearby treatment centers based on your home address.9 Your search results can be filtered based on any specific requirements you may have regarding service settings (such as outpatient or residential), specific payments accepted, availability of payment assistance, and special programs and groups offered (such as programs specifically designed for LGBT clients or persons with co-occurring disorders).
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please know that you are not alone. For advice on the treatment options available, including state-funded rehab programs, call 1-888-744-0069 today.
FAQs on State-Funded Rehabs
How are state rehabs funded?
State-funded rehab programs are funded through federal grants, reimbursement through Medicaid, and their state budget.
Why do people not like state funded addiction rehabs?
Most people prefer to be as comfortable as possible during their addiction treatment and recovery. For this reason, many people opt to undergo rehab in a private facility where more treatment options and amenities are available.
Can state-funded rehabs violate the free exercise clause?
The free-exercise clause pertains to an individual’s right to freedom of conscience and free expression of religious beliefs.10 (Freedom Forum Institute. (2011). Free-Exercise Clause Overview.) Under this part of the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, it can be viewed that a state-funded rehab center mandating faith-based substance abuse treatment (particularly when no non-faith-based option is available) is forcing individuals to participate in certain religious activities.
For people who choose not to subscribe to any form of religion, these programs would appear to be in violation of the free exercise clause.
It can also be argued that state-funded faith-based substance abuse treatment is in violation of the establishment clause, the other part of the first amendment that prohibits the government from establishing a religion, preferring one religion over another, preferring religion over non-religion, or preferring non-religion over religion.11 In this regard, several legal cases have previously addressed the constitutionality of government funded faith-based treatment centers.12
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). 2017 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): Admissions to and Discharges from Publicly-Funded Substance Use Treatment.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Directory of Single State Agencies (SSAs) for Substance Use Services.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Funding and Characteristics of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services and State Mental Health Agencies, 2015.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
- Freedom Forum Institute. (2011). Free-Exercise Clause Overview.
- Freedom Forum Institute. (2011). Establishment Clause Overview.
- Meissner, C.M. (2006). Prayer or Prison: The Unconstitutionality of Mandatory Faith-Based Substance Abuse Treatment. Cleveland State Law Review, 54, 671-712.