A Guide to State-Funded Rehab Programs

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State-funded rehab centers offer a treatment option at minimal or no cost. These facilities commonly receive funding through government grants, which makes it possible for treatment to be made available to uninsured people or those who don’t earn enough to afford the cost of rehab.1

Many Americans are affected by substance abuse. In 2019, 20.4 million Americans had an addiction, yet only 4.2 million people were treated, and 2.6 million people were treated in rehab facilities.2 One of the main reasons people don’t go to treatment is the cost, which can be prohibitively expensive.2 About 20% of Americans weren’t able to go to treatment in 2019 because they couldn’t afford it or didn’t have insurance coverage.2

What is State-Funded Rehab?

State-funded rehabs provide treatment for free or at a very low cost. They can receive funding from a variety of sources, including grants from the federal government, state funds, and refunds from government health programs such as Medicaid.1,3,4

Various government programs disburse grants for substance use treatment and prevention, although each state has the freedom to allocate these funds as they see fit.3 This allows state-funded treatment centers to offer free or low-cost treatment to people who wouldn’t be able to afford treatment otherwise. In 2019, 45% of treatment facilities offered free or low-cost treatment for people who couldn’t afford care.1

Paying for Rehab with Medicare or Medicaid

Medicare is a type of health insurance that is administered by the federal government.5 It is available for people over age 65, as well as younger people who are on dialysis or have specific disabilities.5

Medicaid is a federal and state-sponsored assistance program that provides medical coverage to certain qualified individuals and families.5 Medicaid is available to low-income families and children, women who are pregnant, people over a certain age, and disabled people.5,6 Additionally, in some states, adults who have income under certain limits are eligible for Medicaid, but this depends on the state.6,7

Many state-funded rehabs accept Medicare and Medicaid to make it easier to access treatment.2

What Is The Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal law that reformed various aspects of healthcare. It made it easier to get insurance coverage, required most plans to cover mental and behavioral health conditions at the same level as physical conditions, and ensured that people with preexisting conditions could obtain insurance.8,9

Under the ACA, insurance plans include coverage for addiction treatment, which may include:8,9

  • Detox.
  • Inpatient treatment.
  • Outpatient treatment.
  • Counseling.
  • Medication-assisted treatment.

Who Qualifies for State-Funded Drug Rehab Programs?

State-funded substance abuse programs commonly have strict eligibility requirements, especially since there are many applicants for limited program spots. While each state may have different requirements, you may be asked to provide information and evidence of citizenship, residency in the state where you’re seeking treatment, income, family size, and health insurance or lack thereof.4

When Does Treatment Start?

It can be hard to get into state-funded addiction rehab programs. These programs are in high demand and program availability tends to be very limited, so people seeking treatment in these programs are generally placed on a waiting list to start treatment.10,11

Wait times can range from several weeks up to 6 months.10,11 One survey found that 75% of people waited more than a month to get into treatment and more than 30% hadn’t been admitted after 90 days on a waiting list.10,11

Finding State-Funded Rehab Facilities Near Me

Resources are available to help you find a state-funded rehab center. The Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is offered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and can help you find treatment facilities.

Using the SAMHSA site, you can look up facilities in a specific geographical area and narrow your search by program type (detox, inpatient, etc.), payment type accepted, if payment assistance is offered, and other factors that may be important to you.

Each state has an agency that oversees substance abuse treatment and services.3 The directory of single state agencies for substance abuse services, created by SAMHSA, is a comprehensive listing of these agencies and includes telephone, e-mail, and website information for each state agency. This information can be used for assistance in finding state-funded rehab facilities for low-income or underinsured people within your state.

Whats the Difference Between State-Funded and Private Rehab?

While both state-funded and private rehabs provide treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs), there are differences between the facility types and what they offer.

State-Funded Rehab

State-funded programs depend on limited sources of funding that are used toward treatment rather than amenities. Only basic services may be offered, such as detox, individual and group therapy sessions, and inpatient treatment. Facilities tend to have shared bedrooms and basic meals.

State-funded facilities are closely monitored by state agencies, and all treatment techniques used must be evidence-based and shown to be effective in treating alcohol and drug addiction.

Since state-funded rehabs have limited funding and space in their programs and long waitlists, it can take weeks or even months to get admitted into one of these programs. This can be discouraging to someone who is ready to get help now. This funding also translates into less staff, meaning that patients tend to get less individualized care.

Private Rehab

Private rehabs are covered by insurance and private payments and the cost is significantly higher. This can translate into luxurious amenities, including private rooms, gourmet meals, and spa-like options, such as massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, yoga, and exercise facilities.

Private facilities generally use these techniques and incorporate cutting-edge or complementary techniques into treatment to help participants recover using all the tools at their disposal. Private facilities may incorporate creative art therapies, animal-assisted treatment, and family counseling, or specialize in treating mental health issues that occur along with addiction.

Private rehabs have increased sources of funding, so there may be a shorter time to get admitted to treatment. Additionally, this funding is used to hire additional staff, so treatment can be tailored to each patient through a lower patient-to-staff ratio.

Regardless of the differences between the programs, both types of facilities offer treatment that is effective at addressing addiction and helping people work on their recovery from substance abuse.

American Addiction Centers

American Addiction Centers (AAC) treats addiction through effective, evidence-based therapies and aims to help those who are dealing with addiction. If you want to get started on the path to recovery but aren’t sure what steps to take, our admissions navigators can be reached at 1-888-319-2606 Helpline Information . Your call is confidential and you’ll receive comprehensive information and answers to any questions you may have. If you do have insurance coverage but aren’t sure what will be covered, click here or fill out the form below.

If you don’t have health insurance or the money to pay for rehab, recovery may seem hopeless. Fortunately, state-funded rehabs offer free or low-cost options that can help you or a loved one on the road to recovery. In many states, people who have income under a certain amount may qualify for health insurance programs like Medicaid, which can also help to make treatment more affordable. Recovery is possible.


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). National survey of substance abuse treatment services (N-SSATS): 2019. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2000). Integrating substance abuse treatment and vocational services. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 38. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4216. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Paying for treatment.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Who is eligible for Medicaid?
  7. Healthcare.gov. (n.d.). Medicaid expansion and what it means for you.
  8. Abraham, A.J., Andrews, C.M., Grogan, C.M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K.N., Pollack, H.A., … & Friedmann, P.D. (2017). The Affordable Care Act transformation of substance use disorder treatment. American Journal of Public Health, 107(1), 31-32.
  9. Healthcare.gov. (n.d.). Mental health and substance abuse coverage.
  10. Andrews, C.M., Shin, H.-C., Marsh, J.C., & Cao, D. (2012). Client and program characteristics associated with wait time to substance abuse treatment entry. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-8.
  11. Democratic Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance. (2016). Dying waiting for treatment: The opioid use disorder treatment gap and the need for funding.

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