Cost of Paying for Rehab
The cost of paying for drug and alcohol rehab can feel overwhelming for many people. They may turn to private health insurance, public health insurance, scholarships, grants, or payment plans they set up with their treatment provider to cover the cost. While each of these options provides people with access to addiction rehab, the tremendous cost of treatment, and the limited availability of state-funded and free rehab opportunities, make private insurance the most often used payment method.
One of the primary reasons people don’t pursue or obtain treatment is because it’s cost-prohibitive.1 About 20% of Americans were unable to access addiction treatment in 2019 because they couldn’t afford it or didn’t have insurance coverage.1 In 2019, 20.4 million Americans had a substance use disorder (SUD), but only 4.2 million people were treated, and 2.6 million people were treated in rehab facilities.1
If you or a loved one are seeking addiction treatment and want to know more about paying for rehab, this article will outline common ways to cover the cost including:
- Private insurance.
- Drug rehab financing.
- Scholarships and grants.
How Much Does Rehab Cost?
When it comes to addiction treatment, one of the major questions people have is: How much does it cost? The cost of care can vary greatly depending on:
- The level of care that is needed.
- Type of treatment.
- Type of rehab facility.
- Length of stay.
- Substance of abuse.
- Amenities offered.
Providing a high level of care is important regardless of the type of treatment. Inpatient rehab is typically more expensive than outpatient rehab, but both provide treatment that can helps people address their addiction and work toward sobriety.
How Do I Pay for Alcohol or Drug Rehab?
As stated previously, there are various ways to pay for rehab. Those options include state-funded and free rehab facilities, payment plans, drug rehab financing, scholarships and/or grants, and insurance. Ultimately, though, most people end up using insurance or private pay to cover the cost of addiction treatment.
The Affordable Care Act
With a few exceptions, insurance companies are required to cover some or all of the costs of addiction treatment.3
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers mental health and SUD services as part of the 10 essential health benefits (EHBs).2 Therefore, all health insurance that is sold on Health Insurance Exchanges or available through Medicaid must include services for SUDs.4 While it’s possible that not all treatment is covered, the ACA ensures that mental health and substance abuse treatment are provided at a level equivalent to medical and surgical procedures.5
There are several major healthcare companies in the United States that provide coverage. Four of the main companies that provide insurance are Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Humana, and Kaiser Permanente. Level of care and coverage varies depending on the individual’s policy, but many private insurance companies cover the same essential health benefits that are required under the ACA.
Some factors that may affect coverage include:
- Facility location.
- Type of treatment.
- Medications used.
- Level of care.
- Type of insurance plan.
The best way to find out what your insurance covers is to call your provider or visit their website. You can also verify your benefits with AAC in just a few minutes.
How Do I Pay for Rehab Without Insurance?
For those who do not have insurance, there are other options for financial assistance for rehab. There are some rehab facilities that offer sliding-scale payment options, in which the price of treatment depends on the individual’s income and their ability to pay. This option typically applies to low-income patients, but there is a possibility of financial aid for rehab.
Medicare and Medicaid
How can you use Medicare or Medicaid to pay for rehab? Both may provide options for accessing addiction rehab.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program. In order to qualify, you must meet one of the following criteria:6
- 65 or older
- Younger and disabled
Medicaid is a program that is funded by states and the federal government. It provides low-cost or free healthcare to many low-income people, regardless of age, and is based on income and family size.7 Depending on your state of residence, coverage and eligibility vary. Those with Medicaid often pay nothing for medical costs, though a small copayment might be required.7
Medicaid and Medicare may provide insurance assistance or support with drug or alcohol addiction treatment and rehab.
Drug Rehab Financing
Since the cost of rehab can be quite high depending on the length of stay and rehab facility, it may be necessary to secure private financing. This could be the case if a person is uninsured or doesn’t qualify for state or federal assistance. Some options for addiction treatment financing may include:
- Scholarships offered by addiction treatment centers (ask the admissions office about scholarships).
- Financing plans that allow you to make payments after being discharged (may be offered by a third party who will create an alcohol or drug rehab loan package).
- Personal savings.
- Borrow money from friends or family.
For further assistance, you can also access the treatment locator offered by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which can help you find local treatment facilities that may offer alternative payment options.
Insurance Providers with Addiction Coverage
- Ambetter Insurance
- Aetna Insurance Coverage
- United Healthcare Insurance
- Humana Health Insurance
- Cigna Insurance
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Kaiser Permanente
- Veterans Insurance
If you or a loved one are looking for treatment options, or need more information about addiction treatment financing and paying for rehab, call AAC’s caring admissions navigators at 1-888-319-2606 Helpline Information . We’re available 24/7 to hear your story and help you find the treatment you need.
- 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.
- HealthCare.gov. (n.d.). What Marketplace health insurance plans cover.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2020). What is mental health parity?
- Office of National Drug Control Policy. (n.d.). Substance Abuse and the Affordable Care Act.
- 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. Am J Public Health, 107(1): 31-32.
- Medicare.gov. (n.d.). What’s Medicare?
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). Who is eligible for Medicaid?