Veterans Choice Program (VA Choice) Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers
- Access to licensed treatment centers
- Information on treatment plans
- Financial assistance options
Veterans are a special population, particularly susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse. Experiencing stressful and traumatic experiences like those in combat can negatively impact the lives of military personnel.
Many Veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a persistent condition causing high levels of mental and emotional stress as a result of severe psychological shock or injury.1 overview Veterans struggling with PTSD may try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to alleviate their symptoms, which can lead to addiction over time.2 Does one cause the other?
Heavy alcohol use is the most common substance use disorder among military personnel.3 Specific substances In a study focused on substance use among Veterans, problematic alcohol use was linked to experiencing high levels of combat, with almost 80% of the population engaging in heavy drinking or binge drinking.3 Specific substances Veterans with PTSD or other mental health illnesses also had higher levels of opioid prescription and misuse.3 Specific substances
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, help is out there. Seeking help is the first step to welcoming support and encouragement from professionals and peers who care about your well-being. Financing addiction treatment is a common burden that many struggle with. Veterans Choice offers community resources and assistance to Veterans struggling with substance use disorder.
What is Veterans Choice Program Insurance?
Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive community-based care through the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). The Veterans Choice Program offers healthcare and substance use services such as medical detox, outpatient treatment, therapy, counseling, and mental health treatment.
Initiated in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, the VA Choice Program aims to widen access to healthcare by allowing Veterans to seek care from community-based non-VA providers.4
The Mission Act of 2018 replaced the VA Choice with a similar program called the Veterans Community Care Program, which offers the same assistance to more Veterans by expanding the eligibility criteria based on medical standards, personal situations, and location.5
Does Veterans Choice Program Cover Drug and Alcohol Rehab Treatment?
The Veterans Choice Program offers coverage for drug and alcohol rehab treatment depending on your specific needs. Under the Affordable Care Act, care for essential health benefits like behavioral health treatment, mental healthcare, and substance use disorders must be provided by every insurance plan.6
Veteran’s Choice insurance coverage is unique and depends on each Veteran but provides care to address mental health illnesses that many Veterans face, like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Access to VA services and non-VA community-based services vary based on eligibility and individual healthcare needs.
What are Veterans Choice Program Coverage Levels and Plans?
Different levels of coverage are offered through VA Choice insurance plans. When enrolling in VA services, you’ll be assigned to 1 of 8 priority groups depending on your disability rating, income level, and special eligibility factors. Your priority group determines your co-payment rates and healthcare coverage.
Some medical services won’t require copays despite your priority group. Readjustment counseling and mental health services are available for eligible Veterans without a co-pay.
Check Your Veterans Choice Program Rehab Coverage
Before deciding on a rehab or treatment program, it’s best to check your benefits to avoid selecting a program that isn’t covered under your insurance. Call the number on the back of your insurance card or reach out directly to the rehab you’re interested in and have them check your insurance coverage.
You can also contact American Addiction Centers (AAC) online or by phone to verify your insurance. Fill out the SSVOB form, chat with an agent or call our helpline at to speak with a representative who can check your benefits right while you’re on the phone.
Types of Addiction Treatment That Veterans Choice Program May Cover
The Veterans Choice Program covers various types of addiction treatment services. Treatment for substance use disorder is specific to a person’s unique needs, and what works for one person may not work for another. Common methods for treatment that may be covered by VA Choice insurance include:
- Detox: Detox is a vital part of recovery for many. A person’s body must eliminate harmful substances when they stop using drugs or alcohol. Detox sometimes requires certain medications administered by healthcare professionals to stop cravings and aid in the withdrawal process.7 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
- Inpatient or residential rehab: Standard inpatient programs usually last between 30 to 90 days, but some offer longer stays. Inpatient and residential rehab provide a safe space for recovery for those struggling with severe addiction. You’ll be able to focus completely on recovery without distractions and develop healthy coping skills to better handle stressful situations, promoting long-term sobriety.7 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
- Partial hospitalization (PHP): PHPs, or day treatment programs, require you to attend daily treatment for multiple hours while still living at home. These facilities are similar to inpatient programs. 7 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
- Outpatient rehab and treatment: People with mild to moderate addictions may initially seek outpatient treatment. Many outpatient programs include similar treatments to inpatient rehabs, like medical detox and behavioral therapies, but allow you to continue living at home and still tend to daily responsibilities like family and work. You’ll focus on building coping skills to fight addiction triggers and remain sober.7 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOPs are more rigid outpatient programs that require you to visit your treatment center a certain amount of times per week while still living at home.7 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
- Therapy: Behavioral interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational therapies, group therapy, and family therapy commonly go hand-in-hand with pharmacological treatment methods. Therapy helps patients modify their attitudes and develop healthy coping skills to appropriately handle addiction triggers and prevent relapse.7 How are behavioral therapies used to treat drug addiction?
Does Veterans Choice Program Cover Mental Health Treatment Facilities?
Coverage for mental health treatment is available through the VA Choice. Veterans are particularly susceptible to struggling with mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, along with addiction.3 Prevalence rates When a person suffers from addiction and a mental health illness, it’s referred to as a co-occurring disorder or “dual diagnosis.” Co-occurring disorders are extremely common among Veterans.3 pharmacotherapy
The onset of dual diagnosis can happen in 2 different ways.2 Does one cause the other? Veterans, in particular, commonly struggle with mental health disorders like PTSD or depression as a result of traumatic experiences in the military and self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms, leading to addiction over time.3 Prevalence rates Co-occurring disorders can also develop from prolonged excessive substance use, which causes the development of a mental health disorder.
Professionals recommend treating co-occurring disorders simultaneously to efficiently address both issues. Depending on your specific level of coverage, VA Choice insurance may cover some or all of the costs for dual diagnosis treatment.
Does Veterans Choice Program Cover Private and Luxury Rehabs?
Coverage through the VA Choice is unique depending on your specific benefits. Specialty rehab programs that focus on issues specific to Veterans can be particularly helpful to overcome addiction. Private rehabs are privately funded and often have vast resources to offer a wider option of individualized treatment methods. They usually have a lower patient-to-professional ratio, resulting in high-quality, dedicated care.
Luxury rehabs offer spa-like environments that often take a holistic approach to treating addiction by providing mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional support. They commonly include exclusive treatment and amenities like alternative therapies, recreation programs, fitness centers, and maid services. The environment provided by luxury rehabs promotes relaxation and allows patients to de-stress and focus on recovery.
Luxury and private rehabs are often significantly more expensive than standard rehabs but are worth the price for many. Veteran’s Choice insurance likely won’t cover costs for many private and luxury rehabs, but always check with the rehab you’re interested in for specific information.
Which States Do Veterans Choice Program Operate In?
The Veterans Choice Program operates in many states nationwide. Veterans in U.S. territories, including Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, that aren’t within 40 miles of a fully operating VA healthcare facility are also eligible for community VA Choice care.
In Massachusetts, the VA Choice operates as a brand of Medicaid offering financial assistance and peer support to Veterans in multiple cities and towns throughout Massachusetts.
How Much of the Rehab Cost Does Veterans Choice Program Cover?
The level of coverage for rehab costs will vary depending on your specific VA Choice plan. At least some of the costs for rehab will be covered, but like with many insurance plans, Medicaid limits the yearly costs they cover for healthcare services. Most Medicaid programs cap coverage for rehab between 30 and 60 days, with some exceptions.
Who is Eligible for VCP (Veterans choice)?
Eligibility for Veteran’s Choice coverage is determined by VA staff members and varies based on specific criteria. Since the change of Veterans Choice to Veterans Community Care Program, you must check with your local VA to verify access to community care. Veterans must obtain prior approval from the VA before receiving care from a community provider.
It’s also necessary to be enrolled in VA healthcare, and coverage is provided depending on your specific needs. Veterans only need to meet 1 of the 6 requirements below to be eligible to receive assistance from community-based VA services:
- The service you need isn’t available at a local VA medical facility.
- You live in a U.S. state or territory without a full-service VA healthcare facility.
- You don’t reside within 40 miles of a local VA medical facility.
- The VA cannot schedule an appointment within average driving and wait time standards.
- It is in your best medical interest.
- Your local VA isn’t meeting standards for quality-based care.
How To Get Veterans Choice Program Cover To Pay for My Rehab Treatment
The majority of insurance claims are filed by the community providers at your local VA. However, you can submit a claim with your insurance after you receive addiction treatment services. If you incurred out-of-pocket, noncopayment-related expenses due to treatment, you could be eligible for reimbursement.
To make an insurance claim, you must submit a signed written request and receipt of payment to your local VA facility as soon as possible. You can also fill out a VA Form 10-583 or Claim for Payment of Cost of Unauthorized Medical Services. Your request will be reviewed, and you’ll be reimbursed if it meets the specific requirements.
What Should I Do If The Cost Is Not Fully Covered?
It’s possible that the cost of treatment won’t be fully covered under Veteran’s Choice, but there are alternative options for financial assistance. Federal, state, and local organizations offer assistance for addiction treatment services. Some alternative options include:
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA): You can apply for coverage for different addiction treatment services through the ACA if you have low or no income.6
- Government-funded programs: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides financial assistance through block grants for high-risk and at-risk populations. Anyone struggling with addiction, especially IV drug users and mothers or expecting mothers, is encouraged to apply.8 What is a Block Grant?
- State-funded rehabs and local assistance: Partial and full scholarships are available through many state and local organizations to cover the costs of addiction treatment programs and medical detox.
- Loans and financing: Taking a personal loan from a bank can also assist you in financing your recovery.
Getting addiction treatment as soon as possible is most important. If you’re ready to seek help for your addiction but have questions about financial assistance, AAC is here to help. Contact us to discuss your payment options and learn more about Veterans’ rehab programs.