How to Pay for Rehab
Rehab, like any other type of medical or related service, costs money. People often avoid seeking treatment out of fear of not being able to pay for treatment. However, if you or a loved one needs detox and rehab, don’t let the cost stop you from getting the necessary treatment for such a serious problem. Many facilities offer sliding scales and payment plans and many types of rehab are covered through insurance. Using this guide, you can discover ways to pay for drug rehab so that you can get the treatment you need.
Drug & Alcohol Rehab Payment Options
If you or a loved one needs help for a substance use disorder, your primary focus should be on receiving treatment and beginning your journey to sobriety. However, many people worry about the cost associated with receiving such treatment and it often becomes a barrier to receiving the treatment that you or a loved one truly need. While it can be intimidating for many, we have created this resource to help you discover how to pay for rehab. Every facility has various ways in which patients can pay for treatment. Facilities generally work with people who are seeking treatment to ensure they can afford it. Costs also vary from one program to another and while some programs may be unaffordable, there is likely a program that fits your budget. When you are seeking treatment, you need to know and consider all of the possible ways to pay for rehab. These include the following:
• Private insurance
• Medicare and Medicaid
• Private funding and financing
• State and local government programs
• Non-profit programs
Each of these options is discussed more in detail in the sections below.
Paying for Rehab with Private Insurance
Most insurance plans cover at least a portion of substance use treatment and many may cover it entirely depending on your coverage and benefits. Be aware that no two plans are the same, and not every treatment center will accept every type of insurance coverage. Many times, rehab programs will contract with certain insurers as an in-network provider, which generally means that any treatment center that is in-network will cover a greater portion of your treatment (if not the entire cost). If, however you go to an out-of-network provider, the insurance company may cover less of the cost, but it’s important to speak to your insurance company to find out the specific coverage, and which facilities are in-network. Some common health insurance companies include the following:
- United Healthcare has a behavioral health division that handles authorizations for substance use disorder treatment. Many United Healthcare plans cover substance use disorder treatment, and United Healthcare is a network provider for many rehab programs. United Healthcare representatives can help you understand your benefits and coverage and the best ways for you to access treatment through their provider network.
- Cigna offers substance use treatment coverage under many of its plans, and depending on the plan you have, it may cover inpatient or outpatient treatment. Again, your specific plan may offer only certain types of treatment. By reaching out to your Cigna representative, you can get information specific to your needs and which rehab options are available to you.
- Aetna offers healthcare plans that include substance use treatment coverage, but coverage depends on your needs and the specific Aetna plan that you have.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield provides health insurance coverage in many states and operates as a group of 36 independent insurance companies. Consequently, your particular Blue Cross Blue Shield plan may offer very different levels of substance use treatment coverage than another plan. The best way to determine your benefits is to contact Blue Cross Blue Shield directly.
Local & Federal Funding for Drug Treatment Programs
Numerous facilities receive county, state, and federal funding to provide inpatient, outpatient, and aftercare treatment. Reaching out to the drug and alcohol treatment programs in your county is a good place to start to locate these programs. Many local and state governments have rehab grants, but they can be limited as to how many people can be treated at one time. Federal funding for drug treatment programs is available and SAMHSA offers a search tool that can help you identify these programs. These programs will often have a waiting list, and you must meet certain criteria, which can include:
- Proof of citizenship.
- Residence in the state or county.
- Addiction history that meets the criteria for treatment.
- Inability to afford rehab based on certain criteria.
Like anything else, you will not know until you reach out and call to discuss your case, or that of your loved one, with the program to determine if you are a good fit and qualify for financial aid for rehab. In some cases, rehab might be free, and depending on the requirements and your income, you may be asked to pay some costs.
Non-Profit Drug Rehab Programs
There are also programs for treatment at little or no-cost run by private, non-profit entities, such as the Salvation Army, local rescue missions, or Teen Challenge. Your treatment may be free, but in some cases based on your situation, you may be asked to pay a small amount. In some of the programs, you may be required to work, attend religious meetings, or agree to certain restrictions. You can locate rescue missions by searching for rescue missions in your area or by using the SAMHSA search tool.
The Affordable Health Care Act (ACA)
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made insurance coverage more affordable for many people. If you do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, and you do not have healthcare through an employer, you may be eligible for a low- or no-cost health care plan in your state. Many of the ACA-sponsored plans cover substance use disorder treatment. It is important to check your eligibility through the ACA healthcare exchange in your state to see if you qualify. The good news about ACA insurance plans is that you can get immediate coverage for pre-existing conditions, so even if you have had a drug or alcohol use disorder for a long time, or have gone through other treatment in the past, there is no waiting period for you to use the ACA healthcare plan to pay for drug rehab.5 In addition, each plan must provide minimum levels of coverage, based on the premium you pay, with more expensive plans providing more coverage. For example:6
- Bronze, which covers 60% of eligible costs
- Silver, which covers 70% of eligible costs
- Gold, which covers 80% of eligible costs
- Platinum, which covers 90% of eligible costs
Regardless of what level of coverage you choose, there are minimum requirements of what must be covered, and this includes many forms of substance abuse treatment.
If you do not have health insurance, definitely look into seeing if you can get coverage through an ACA plan, which will make it easier for you to pay for drug rehab.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Who is eligible for Medicare?
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2016). Medicare coverage of substance abuse services.
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2019). 2020 Medicare parts A & B premiums and deductibles.
- Medicaid.gov. Eligibility.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). Pre-Existing conditions.
- Healthcare.gov. The metals categories: Bronze, silver, gold & platinum.