In the developed world, nations provide their citizens with tax-supported health care, but not in the U.S. And as with any medical treatment in the U.S., people tend to avoid seeking care because of the expense. Even with medical insurance, the out-of-pocket costs for treatment can be exorbitant. About one in four Americans skips medical care because of the expense. But this isn’t a treatise on the merits of health care for all; the notion that it’s an excellent–recommended–thing that a person gets medical treatment when they need it seems obvious enough. This is a guide that outlines how someone in need of addiction treatment can go about paying for it.
Identify the Costs
Substance abuse treatment comes in many forms ranging from free to luxury. Residential alcohol and drug rehab will necessarily cost more than outpatient treatment simply because inpatient care involves room and board as well as 24-hour monitoring. Some outpatient treatment plans offer intensive daily therapy, but clients live at home. This works for some people except that many people genuinely need the inpatient treatment model–at least when they’re first beginning their recovery journey.
It’s not easy on a person’s best day to research the differences–the pros and cons–of one rehab vs another. Yes, it can be extremely challenging when one is battling a substance addiction to evaluate different addiction treatment centers and their offerings, but it’s an essential step in order to find quality treatment at an affordable price. Until people investigate the costs of treatment, they’ll never know if they can afford it.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, medical insurers are required to provide some level of mental health care and substance abuse treatment. The legislation outlines minimum levels of coverage that must be provided. Some insurers offer the minimum. Others provide excellent coverage for treatment. How much coverage is provided depends on the insurance carrier and the specific coverage plan.
Not sure how much treatment your insurance plan covers? Quality addiction treatment centers can help you navigate your insurance coverage. They employ insurance specialists for this purpose. They can explain what a client’s insurance plan will pay for and what costs are left over–the out-of-pocket expenses. There is no penalty involved when clients discuss their insurance plan with a treatment center.
Some people choose to pay for addiction treatment out of pocket. Depending on insurance deductibles and specific insurance coverage, self-payment plans may be an option. It’s important to note that addiction treatment is life-saving treatment. Substance use disorders are chronic conditions; they’re frequently progressive, meaning they have a habit of getting worse. Overdose is always a threat. The fact is simple: substance addiction will lead to the deterioration of physical and mental health. It may happen gradually over time. It might happen all at once if the abuse triggers a health emergency.
Nevertheless, a good treatment center should be worth the investment. Before you dip into your savings account or budget for the expense of rehab, be sure to investigate any prospective treatment center to ensure that it’s worthy of the investment.
There are federal and state providers that offer free substance abuse treatment. Generally, these centers are very booked, but it’s worth signing up for waiting lists and learning about their process. These providers vary in the quality and levels of their treatment, which is why it’s important to assess their offerings carefully. Unfortunately, free treatment can be limited and may not be offered in or near the communities where the people who need them live.
There are 12 step programs that many people turn to for support. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are free, but these programs do not offer medical care. Their members are substance abusers who are at different stages of recovery. Some members have lived without drugs or alcohol for years. These programs can provide supportive aftercare, but they do not supply clinically driven–medically sanctioned–addiction treatments delivered by credentialed medical therapists and other clinicians. They don’t offer medical detox, and they do not treat dual diagnosis.
Nevertheless, if affordability is a factor, it’s worth evaluating any available free resources. Not sure what resources near you are free or low cost? Ask your doctor for recommendations. Most health clinics are able to refer patients to free resources in the area.
Yes, there are financing options available for substance abuse treatment. This option makes treatment accessible for many more people. Many high-quality treatment centers offer financing options. Remember, it’s impossible to know what a payment plan looks like until you contact the provider to discuss it. Also, treatment is highly individualized at quality rehab centers. What someone else pays may not reflect your cost. Some people require a longer stay in residential treatment programs. Some people require medical detox. Some people have a dual diagnosis (this indicates the presence of addiction and a mental health disorder like depression or post traumatic stress disorder) and need simultaneous treatment for both conditions.
The cost of rehab depends on the services a person requires from the provider. Financing allows for more flexible repayment of treatment. Discuss financing possibilities with prospective treatment centers.
Some addiction treatment centers set aside a certain number of beds (and treatment) each month for their ‘scholarship’ programs. These programs are based on an individual’s financial need. The programs are designed to help individuals who cannot pay get back on their feet and get the health care they desperately need. Not all rehab centers offer these types of plans but they’re worth asking about.
Some people have made a point to tap into free or low-cost resources in order to complement their medical substance abuse treatment. For instance, rather than enrolling in a high-cost residential treatment program, some people save money by living in a half-way house or sober living community and then commuting for outpatient treatment at their rehab center.
Some people tap their family for support. Not everyone is comfortable requesting a loan from family members, but after examining the costs, it may be preferable to ask rather than forgo treatment. Also, ask doctors or nearby health clinics about how others in similar situations have been able to obtain treatment. There may be support available that clients simply aren’t aware of.
Invest in Yourself
It’s seldom pleasant to pay for any type of treatment out of pocket, but when it comes to substance abuse treatment, it’s a worthy investment. For some, paying out of pocket strengthens their commitment to their treatment plan. It’s easier for some to skip a free therapy session than to skip one that’s being financed or has already been billed. That’s an important consideration because treatment isn’t a one-and-done session. Recovery from addiction is gradual. It takes weeks and, generally, months for a person to learn to manage their addiction. People must remain committed to their treatment program in order to manage their addiction effectively and keep relapse at bay.
Paying for rehab is necessary because substance abuse treatment is essential for people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. Find quality treatment centers and discuss your situation with them. Good treatment centers can provide you with the information you need to understand your options. Contact FHE Health to discuss our enrollment process and treatment programs. We can help you navigate insurance plans and provide you with information about your financial options.