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How Much Does Drug Rehab Cost?

The cost of drug rehab ranges widely, depending on the type of program, services provided, and available amenities.

Table of Contents

Drug rehab is accessible to everyone, and finding the right program for your loved one and your family means finding the right price as well as the right treatment services. It is important to know: 

  • What costs to expect
  • How insurance factors in
  • How to weigh cost versus value
  • How to locate other sources of funding for drug rehab

Overall Price Range

It is difficult to discuss drug and alcohol addiction treatment services in the context of dollars and cents. In an area where you really just want the bottom line, the truth is that the total cost can be significantly different — anywhere from $3,500 a month to $25,000 a month on average.

This variance depends on the type and style of treatment you choose. On the high end, some luxury drug rehabs charge more than $100,000 a month. On the other end of the spectrum, some programs are almost free of charge. 
To complicate things further, the amount on the invoice from your drug addiction treatment program will almost never be the amount that you pay out of pocket. That is, you may be expected to pay anywhere from 10 to 60 percent of the bill or more. In some cases, you may be asked to pay nothing at all. It is rare to find a circumstance in which you will be expected to pay the full amount of the bill for drug and alcohol addiction treatment if you take the time to access the proper resources that are right for your situation.

It is essential to investigate:

  • What the exact cost of drug rehab covers for day-to-day services and experience
  • How the services and amenities will impact treatment safety and efficacy as well as long-term recovery
  • Whether or not the treatment services provided are the ones you will likely need to manage addiction and therapy for co-occurring disorders
  • What options there are for funding from local nonprofits, state and federal grants, and the drug rehab program itself
  • How to pay for the remainder of the cost of drug addiction treatment without taking on debt that could be devastating to your family

How Does Cost Differ by State and Type of Program? 

Every state will have different laws that apply to the business practices of local mental health and addiction treatment programs. These laws are almost always designed with the goal of protecting you from spending your money and time on a program that will not be effective. 

It is a good idea to know what is expected of a treatment service provider in your state, so you can make sure the programs you are considering are going above and beyond state standards in advance of enrollment.

For example, you can find out:

  • What licensures and certifications are required for inpatient and/or outpatient drug rehab programs in your state.
  • What level of education and training staff members need to supervise different tasks or provide therapeutic intervention.
  • How many people the program is allowed to serve at one time on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
  • The level of assessment that is done to ensure that clients are responding well to treatment with enough time to make any needed adjustments to the treatment plan.

How Does Insurance Play a Part? 

If you have health insurance, the details in your policy can either support you in getting a great deal of the costs of treatment paid for or minimize the amount the insurance company will cover, depending on your circumstance. 

In many cases, a health insurance policy may note that inpatient drug addiction treatment programs will be covered all or in part if “medically necessary.” While this can initially sound reassuring to you, your definition of what that means and the insurance company’s version may vary significantly.

Depending on the insurer, proving medical necessity may require enrolling in weekly outpatient therapy sessions first, trying an outpatient addiction treatment program, opting into an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program, and/or taking advantage of applicable medical detox options first. If all of these are unsuccessful with the addiction disorder continuing, then it may be that inpatient treatment is approved. 

Though this may sound like a frustrating process, it is not necessarily something you have to undertake on your own.

The billing department at your drug rehab program may be able to assist you, or you may find that you truly do not need a fully supervised drug rehab and a less comprehensive treatment option will be just as effective and less expensive for you.

How Much Can Insurance Reduce the Cost?

Some factors that will impact how much of the total cost of drug rehab will be covered by your insurance provider include: 

  • The type of drug you primarily used
  • The length of time you have spent in active addiction
  • Whether or not your insurance has lapsed or is up for renewal
  • Treatments for co-occurring medical or mental health disorders that are required simultaneously

For example, if you are addicted to benzodiazepines or alcohol and have intensive co-occurring medical or mental health disorders, it may be a simple process to prove that inpatient detox is a medical necessity, along with certain medications

If you have been living with an addiction for years and tried other less intensive addiction treatment services with no success, then your insurance may cover a longer period spent in treatment and/or a more intensive treatment option. 

If there are any disputes associated with your policy itself and your payments, then this can further complicate what the insurance provider will agree to pay. 

A diagnosis from a specialist may be required to demonstrate that specific treatments are needed. The testing process, if not already done, may or may not be covered all or in part by your insurance plan, and the recommended treatment protocol will require the attention of the supervising physician. Depending on what your insurance plan covers, the treatment of these issues could impact the cost as well.

What if I Don’t Have Insurance or I Can’t Afford the Costs My Insurance Won’t Cover? 

Thanks to state and federal support, drug addiction treatment does not have to be out of reach for the many families without health insurance in the United States. All it takes is reaching out to local Medicaid and Medicare offices to find out how to apply and connect with treatment services.

In many cases, drug rehab will be free of charge to those in crisis who have no money and no private insurance to help them pay the cost. The treatment services may be limited in scope and duration, but getting started is the most essential step when it comes to finding long-term peace in sobriety.

Where Should I Begin Looking for the Funds to Cover Out-of-Pocket Costs?

If you have insurance, contacting your insurance company should be your first step. Call and speak to an agent who can help you determine what’s covered and what isn’t. Note everything the agent tells you to expect, and request their email address so you can confirm via email after the call. 

If you do not have insurance, make sure you are signed up for Medicaid and/or Medicare. If you are already signed up, contact the local agency by phone and ask about how you can connect with addiction treatment. 

With information from your insurance provider in hand about what will be needed to prove medical necessity, it is time to see your family physician or go to a community clinic where you can speak with a doctor. Find out what tests you need to have done, if any, to get the required documentation to show you medically need drug rehab. 

If you are already working with a mental health provider or have a diagnosis for a mental health disorder, reach out to get the official testing and reports from your health care professional. 

With all the information from insurance providers and medical professionals in hand, it is time to go to the drug rehab program that you have identified as the best possible choice. Their billing department will be able to work with you to determine what the cost will be for the different programs they offer, and they can offer to work with your insurance company on your behalf.

 If you are having a hard time finding a drug rehab program that is right for you, seek out local nonprofits that are designed to help you. Look for nonprofits that are dedicated to helping people in search of drug treatment find the care they need.

Connect With Treatment

Though getting drug rehab costs covered can be tedious, it is well worth the effort. When an addiction exists, treatment services are essential. Luxury, high-end treatment programs are not required to gain traction in recovery. Rather, an effective and supportive drug addiction treatment program with the right resources and experienced staff is necessary to make progress in recovery.

No matter the cost of the treatment program, it is never more expensive than the price of addiction, both in terms of the money sunk into getting and staying high and in terms of the cost to your family, both emotionally and financially.


Sources

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(September 2015) Insurance and Payments. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/insurance-payments

(February 2014) The TEDS Report: Health Insurance Status of Adult Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Aged 26 or Older, 2011. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/sr134-health-insurance-2014/sr134-health-insurance-2014/sr134-health-insurance-2014.htm

(December 2016) The Staggering Costs, Monetary and Otherwise, of Substance Abuse. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.usnews.com/news/at-the-edge/articles/2016-12-19/drug-and-alcohol-abuse-cost-taxpayers-442b-annually-new-surgeon-generals-report-finds

(March 2019) Health Insurance and Mental Health Services. MentalHealth.gov. Retrieved March 2019 from http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/health-insurance

(March 2016) We Asked Drug Addicts How Much Their Habit Costs Them. Vice. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/nn9p3k/the-cost-of-being-a-drug-addict-in-canada

(2013) The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice. Social Work in Public Health. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725219/

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