Paying for Addiction Treatment


The high cost of addiction treatment in the U.S. may be one why some people with substance abuse disorders do not go. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act has required insurance cover more in terms of mental and behavioral health. This means that treatment has become a reality for more people, even if not all addiction treatment facilities will take your specific insurance, and not all of your treatment may be covered.

The price of rehab and treatment should not keep you or your loved ones away from recovery. Learn about the different methods that are available to you to pay for addiction treatment, including:

  • Private insurance, like the type you may have through your job.
  • Public insurance, like Medicare.
  • Cash.
  • Sliding pay scales or payment plans.

Using Private Insurance to Pay for Addiction Treatment

woman surrounded by medical billsPrivate insurance is insurance not marketed by government-run agencies. Many people sign up for their private insurance through their places of work.

To use private insurance to pay for rehab and addiction treatment, check first with the facility you’re interested in to see if the services there are in network with your insurance provider.

Other facilities may accept your insurance on an out-of-network basis, meaning they don’t have a contract with your insurance provider, but will still bill your insurance for services. Out-of-network treatment and therapy will not be covered at the same rate as in-network and might not be covered at all. For questions about out-of-network coverage, you can contact your insurance provider.

In fact, your insurance provider is a great resource when trying to figure out the cost of treatment, whether you’re in or out of network. Many provide a breakdown of what they cover on their websites, or you could always call your insurance company (your insurance card should have the phone number) and talk with a customer service representative.

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 makes it clear what to expect financially when it comes to treatment.

Many quality 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.

River Oaks Treatment Center does not accept private insurance in-network but will do so on an out-of-network basis. If you’re interested, you can verify your benefits below.

Public Insurance Options

If individuals carry public insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid, they should check with the prospective treatment facility and see if they accept these insurance plans. If the facility does not, you may be able to contact Medicare/Medicaid’s assistance office and see if there’s a chance to get partial 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.

Currently, River Oaks does not accept Medicare or Medicaid.

Insurance Options for Military Veterans Seeking Treatment

If you are a military veteran and enrolled in the VA healthcare system, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program might be the right fit for you. It provides a slew of services including medical, social, vocational, and rehabilitation therapies to veterans with a type of substance use disorder.

For treatment under the Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program, check with your local VA medical center or clinic.

If you’re interested in going to a facility outside of the VA for substance use treatment and are interested in your military insurance paying for it, the VA will contract with non-VA healthcare facilities.

Some facilities may accept military insurance, like TRICARE or TriWest. River Oaks is TRICARE-certified and accepts TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select for family of service members. Another facility in the American Addiction Center’s portfolio, Desert Hope in Las Vegas, Nevada, accepts TriWest’s Community Care Network (CCN) plan.

Paying for Addiction Treatment in Cash

Addiction treatment facilities will also accept cash payment outside of insurance, although treatment is often expensive enough that this may not be a viable option. A savings account or emergency fund may be a good option, provided it is enough to cover, or at least offset, the cost.

It might be difficult to consider using your savings or emergency fund to pay for addiction treatment. Treatment is expensive, but many of the alternatives are scary or permanent. If you think this is the right time for your recovery, it’s probably a good investment.

Financing Treatment Through the Facility

group therapyWhat do I do if I can’t afford treatment, even with insurance? Facilities that are committed to your recovery will often provide ways to lessen the cost burden of treatment, such as through a sliding scale or payment plans.

Payment through a sliding scale 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. Check with the facility to see if a sliding scale or a scholarship is possible.

Payment plans are another way to pay for addiction treatment without putting yourself in a financial unstable and stressful position. At facilities like River Oaks, payment plans are permitted if there is a financial issue, such as if the patient is low income.

If a client states that they can’t afford to pay the full deductible for the maximum out-of-pocket cost, they can provide their last pay stub with some paperwork the facility provides them to complete to set up a repayment plan that works for both the patient and the facility.

Getting Help—It’s Possible

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.



About The Contributor

Amanda Lautieri
Amanda Lautieri

Senior Web Content Editor, American Addiction Centers

Amanda Lautieri is a Senior Web Content Editor at American Addiction Centers and an addiction content expert for River Oaks. She holds a bachelor's degree and has reviewed thousands of medical articles on substance abuse and addiction. Amanda... Read More