A big concern when people are seeking addiction treatment has to do with the cost of rehab. Particularly if the person needs inpatient, residential treatment, fears about whether or not the person or loved ones can afford to pay for it often play into the decision regarding whether or not to seek help in the first place. After all, the cost of rehab can be prohibitive, approaching costs of $30,000.
These people may not be aware that there are a number of ways to pay for treatment, some of which can make it easier for people with limited resources to afford treatment. High-quality, reputable, research-based treatment for drug or alcohol abuse is available for anyone who needs it; all that’s necessary is knowledge of the options and how to make them work for each individual’s situation.
Below is a comparison of the pros and cons for each of the three major options for paying for treatment: private payment, loans, or medical insurance.
Paying for rehab with personal resources isn’t always about using only what the individual has in the bank. There are options that can help to supplement the person’s own ability to pay, such as getting support from family or friends, selling unwanted or unneeded assets, or dipping into savings. The following are pros and cons of paying for rehab out of pocket.
It is possible to obtain a personal loan to help pay for treatment. This involves going to a bank or other lender and getting an official, legal loan.
It’s important to remember that loans must be paid back, and they can involve high levels of interest. Seeking a loan for treatment should be undertaken carefully to avoid future financial risk.
Many insurance plans—whether through employers, personally owned, or through government benefits – provide coverage for drug treatment. In fact, government plans like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require that substance abuse and other types of mental health care are supported through insurance at the same level as physical health care. These options are detailed through the plans on sites such as Medicare Interactive and the ACA website, Healthcare.gov.
Even COBRA, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, should cover these benefits at least in part. COBRA can be used when you lose your job but want to maintain the health insurance benefits your company provided. You’ll be paying 100% of the premium now, but should receive the exact same services as before. If you’re unsure what your policy covers, you can call the number on your insurance card.
Mix and Match
It is possible for an individual to combine any or all of the above options to come up with a workable way to afford rehab that minimizes some of the cons and makes it possible to get the range of treatment services necessary to provide the best chance at recovery. For example, if the person has good insurance coverage for mental health care but a higher deductible that is difficult to pay out of pocket, it may be possible to pay what is possible from savings, secure a loan to cover the rest of the deductible amount, and let insurance coverage take care of the rest.
Reputable, credentialed treatment centers often have personnel who can help an individual figure out the best combination of the above options to provide the full range of treatment services that are needed. In addition, the treatment center may have other options to support the individual, such as a sliding rate based on what the individual is able to pay, grants provided through government programs, or, as mentioned above, special financing options for clients in need. Talking about the options during the enrollment process can clarify what is available and how rehab can be paid for without placing undue financial strain on the individual.
Other Options for Financing Treatment
There are a number of programs that are state- or government-run that may provide other financial options. Some programs may be free to state residents based on the severity of the disorder and level of need. Others may be low-cost, or there may be grants available to help cover treatment, depending on the state. Contacting the state’s Department of Mental Health can help an individual determine what options are available. Websites like Healthfinder.gov provide contact information for various state departments of health.
Still, these programs are often full, may not provide the full spectrum of care needed by the individual, and, in some cases, may have a lower likelihood of providing the level of treatment needed to encourage long-term recovery.
For an individual seeking addiction treatment who is concerned about the financial cost, it can be helpful to consider the cost of what might happen in the future if substance abuse treatment is not successful, and the person relapses back into substance use. The efforts to find the best way to make high-quality, research-based treatment more affordable, and the cost of care, are worth the investment to increase the chances for long-term abstinence and recovery, which can result in a much lower risk of future financial challenges due to continued drug abuse.