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Paying For Treatment

Often, individuals would like to receive treatment for their addiction but are unable to pay due to not having insurance or insurance that does not cover substance abuse treatment.

Inability to pay should not keep people from getting the help they need to begin their path to recovery.

There are many options to pay for rehabilitation services or to find out if insurance will cover treatment.

Private Insurance

Many individuals carry private insurance but are unsure if addiction treatment would be covered under their plan. The best place to start is with the insurance company itself. Many insurance companies have websites where policyholders can find specifics on their policies, such as what services are covered and at what level. If the information provided leaves some areas of ambiguity, it’s best to contact the company directly for more information. Generally, customer service representatives can give policyholders concrete answers on what is covered.

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In addition to inquiring about covered services, policyholders should also inquire about total expenses that could be incurred. This includes deductibles, copays, and overall out-of-pocket maximums. This ensures that individuals know exactly what to expect financially when it comes to treatment.

Many addiction treatment facilities will contact prospective clients’ insurance companies directly to get firm answers on what coverage entails. Since navigating the insurance coverage process can be tricky, it’s often helpful to have your treatment center handle some of the details for you.

Since the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 passed, group health plans and health insurance issuers must abandon their limitations and high copays and deductibles in regards to both mental health and substance abuse treatments and make them comparative to medical benefits in both price and frequency allowances. In the past, deductibles and copays were often higher than those of medical appointments, and there were limits on the number of visits a person could use for treatment.

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals have greater access to mental health and addiction treatment. Only a small fraction of the 23 million Americans who struggle with substance abuse receive the specialized help they need to get well. With expanded coverage from the ACA, more individuals will be able to access that care.

Public Insurance

Seek help as soon as possibleIf individuals carry public insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid, they should check with the prospective treatment facility and inquire as to whether they accept these insurance plans. If they do not, individuals may be able to contact the organization, such as the assistance office, where they initially registered for the insurance plan. Oftentimes, certain services may be covered while others are not, making for partial treatment coverage.

In addition, there are public addiction treatment options, funded by the state, local, or federal government, that may be able to help those in need who cannot afford private care.

Some churches and nonprofit organizations also offer addiction treatment help, in the form of group therapy sessions or supportive meetings, to those in need.

Paying in Cash

If people have the means to pay in cash, they may choose to do so, even if they have insurance. Paying in cash can help individuals to keep their situations a bit more private if they are worried about how their employers, or others in their lives, will react if they find out. The downside to paying in cash is that often, it is hard to secure such a large amount. Treatment can be costly, and this puts a heavy burden on individuals trying to use this method of payment. A savings account or emergency fund may be a good option, provided it is enough to cover, or at least offset, the cost.
treatment in cashSome options to obtain the funds needed to pay for treatment in cash include selling personal belongings and/or asking friends and family members for loans. Family members are often drastically affected by a loved one’s drug or alcohol abuse, and they may be willing to give a loan to cover the cost of treatment. Understandably, many family members may be worried that the money will be used to purchase alcohol, drugs, or drug paraphernalia, so they may ease their fears by handing the money directly to the treatment facility.

If the treatment is outpatient on a weekly basis – or even 2-5 times a week – cash may be a more viable option, as the cost would be considerably less than that associated with inpatient treatment.

Financing through the Facility

Some facilities offer the option of funding clients’ treatment via long-term payment plans. The treatment cost is covered upfront, and the individual then pays the bill for that care over a set period of time. If a client is in an inpatient program, the repayment schedule may begin when the client is discharged. This option works especially well if individuals have jobs they will be returning to once they are discharged from treatment.

The facility can create a payment plan in which the monthly payments are relatively low, offering the client a chance to pay the loan back without struggling to meet other financial obligations.

Some institutions offer fees based on a sliding scale. This means that the cost of care is based on the client’s income level. For those in low-income situations, this can make the cost of care more realistic for their situation. In addition, some treatment programs may offer scholarships, in which a portion, or even all, of the cost of care is covered.

Getting Needed Help

Each person who needs treatment for drug and alcohol abuse should be able to receive it. While the bill for rehab can seem high, there are many means to make treatment a reality for yourself or someone you love.

Inquire with the treatment program you have in mind about alternate ways to cover the cost of care.

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of River Oaks Treatment is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed... Read More