Using Insurance in a Sober Living Home
While sober living homes can provide people with a safe and sober environment, many may worry about the costs. Sober living homes can provide a lot of benefit, the most important of which may be the strong social support of your sober housemates. While this support network and these new experiences can be priceless, especially for those in early recovery, sober living homes do require residents to contribute monetarily to the project. While the costs of sober living homes can vary, there are ways to make them manageable. Understanding the costs of sober living homes, how to make the costs manageable, and how insurance can help is important for getting the most out of your new, sober home.
Costs of Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes, also known as halfway houses, can vary greatly in terms of cost. This is due to a variety of factors, such as the location of the home, the accommodations and amenities provided at the home, and how the sober living home is funded. The big factor is likely to be location, as property values will naturally effect the rent one will need to pay to live in a certain area. As such, the rent one is expected to pay while residing in a sober living home is difficult to pin down. Additionally, certain areas may have rent control agreements, while other areas may raise the rent on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. Overall, it’s important to discuss with your potential house mates or the home management to determine what your monthly cost in rent will be.
The amount of amenities offered by a sober living home may also affect the cost. Homes that offer various recreational facilities or have on-site exercise equipment may be most costly. Homes that are funded by a larger facility or organization may also be able to offer rent at a lower cost.
You may also want to ask about costs other than rent. Water, electricity, and other utilities may need to be covered in addition to rent. If a sober living home is far from your workplace, it may also accrue transportation costs. It’s important to consider all the costs before committing to renting at a sober living home.
Will Insurance Cover Sober Living Homes?
While sober living homes can be a part of recovery, many insurance plans do not consider them an essential part of treatment, and as such they may not provide coverage for sober living homes. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to provide some type of coverage for the treatment of mental and behavioral health disorders.4 This can include medically necessary treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), colloquially known as addiction. Treatment services like medical detox, inpatient and residential rehab, and outpatient rehab may all be covered by insurance plans. However, sober living homes are not considered a part of this continuum of care, and as a result may not be covered by insurance.
While sober living home residents are often responsible for the cost of rent and utilities, insurance may be able to help in other regards. Many who reside in sober living homes have already completed substance abuse treatment, or are currently working through an outpatient treatment program. Many more may be taking certain medications to help them maintain recovery. Insurance may be able to help you cover the costs of medical treatments like outpatient and medications, even if you are living in a sober home. Since insurance plans can vary greatly, it’s a good idea to reach out to your health insurance representative to determine the extent of your coverage.
Will Medicare and Medicaid Cover Sober Living Homes?
While Medicare can help cover the cost of substance abuse treatment for a lot of people, sober living is not mentioned as part of what the program considers to be essential services.1 While there’s no harm in asking a Medicare representative about coverage for sober living homes, many insurance plans do not consider sober living homes an essential part of treatment.
It’s difficult to make statements about what Medicaid does and does not cover, since each state operates their own Medicaid program with different eligibility requirements and coverage plans. Additionally, reports seem to suggest that Medicaid could be an effective way to provide those transitioning out of substance abuse treatment with sober housing.2 Like with Medicare, it may be worthwhile to speak with your Medicaid representative to see if they will cover some or all of the cost of sober living homes.
How to Pay Rent in a Sober Living Home
Once you’ve determined the extent of coverage you receive for sober living home expenses, it’s time to consider how to cover your out-of-pocket costs. Paying rent may involve using personal savings, a credit card, or donations from friends and family for the first few weeks or months before gaining employment.
Sober living is protected by both the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This can help mitigate rental cost and protect residents from discrimination in the neighborhood. The specific cost of renting from a sober living home can vary based on rental rates in the area; for example, renting a room in a smaller town will be less costly than in a large city. Check with prospective sober living homes to determine monthly rent costs.
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Finding Sober Living Homes in Nevada
Once you’ve determined how to cover the costs of a sober living home, you’ll need to go about finding the best facility near you. If you’ve completed or are nearing the completion of a substance abuse program in Nevada, you may seek to stay local. 68 of the 106 Nevada substance abuse facilities provide assistances for their clients when locating housing.3 As such, a good way to find sober living homes in Nevada would be to work with your aftercare or discharge team. Some facilities may operate sober living homes. For example, American Addiction Centers rehab facility Desert Hope works with Resolutions Las Vegas, a sober living home in the city. You may also be able to connect with residents of sober living homes through rehab alumni networks or through support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.