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How to Pay for Rehab Without Insurance

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We Help Thousands of Addicts Quit. Who Answers?

Written by Lauren Villa, MPH

If you desperately need to go to rehab for drug or alcohol addiction but don’t have health insurance, there are coverage and financing options available to help you cover the cost of treatment.

Signs of a developing addiction.Addiction is a lifelong, chronic illness that affects the mind, body, and spirit, and it can cause serious health risks in a person’s life. Substance abuse is a life-threatening condition that carries serious risks ranging from overdose to relationship problems or losing your job.

Even without health insurance, the cost of rehab should not deter you from getting the help you need.

If you’re battling addiction, you may feel unsure of how to pay for rehab without insurance, but you’re not alone. In fact, according to the Surgeon General, 1 in 7 people in the United States, or 14.6% of the population, will struggle with a substance use disorder at some point in their lives.1 Luckily, addiction is treatable, and there are ways to finance drug or alcohol rehab even without health insurance coverage. It’s important that remember how serious addiction is—don’t wait until you reach rock bottom to get help.

In 2015, an estimated 21.7 million people (1 in 12) over the age of 12 needed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse in the U.S. However, only about 2.3 million people received treatment.2 If you’ve had trouble getting insurance coverage or financing for drug or alcohol rehab, read on to learn how to access resources that can help you start a life in recovery.

Keep in mind that all of these options take a little bit of work and you will be required to take action along the way.

What Addiction Treatment Options are Available?

Insurance issues shouldn't deter someone from getting help.When it comes to addiction treatment, you have choices. Beside your insurance and financial needs, there are many factors to consider before choosing a facility. Many rehab programs begin with detox, which is then followed by a period of inpatient treatment, although outpatient rehabilitation options might be a better fit depending on your situation.

These descriptions should help you get a better idea of what the recovery process may include, so you can be better informed when discussing your needs with potential healthcare, insurance, or financial providers.

Medical Detox: Medical detox programs are often the first step in the recovery process. Depending on the substance, length, and severity of your addiction, you may be slowly weaned off the drug in tapering doses to help minimize the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, side effects of withdrawal. In some instances, you may be prescribed medication to manage withdrawal symptoms while under medical supervision. After you meet with your doctor for initial evaluation, they will determine your treatment plan and whether medically supervised detoxification is necessary. Detox programs typically last 7–10 days and cost 3

Once you are medically cleared by the detox facility you will enter inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Residential/Inpatient: Inpatient drug rehab is intensive and provides around-the-clock supervision while you will live at the treatment facility. Residential programs provide you with a sober, safe environment to focus on your recovery. Inpatient addiction treatment typically includes a combination of individual therapy, group counseling, therapeutic medications (when necessary), health education, aftercare planning, and other activities depending on the facility. The combination of services is designed to help you address the underlying causes of your addiction and prepare you for the transition out of treatment or into an outpatient program. Inpatient rehab generally lasts 30, 60, or 90 days, and can cost anywhere from $200–$900 per day depending on the facility and length of treatment.3

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): PHPs play a vital role in drug and alcohol abuse treatment. In terms of a treatment intensity spectrum, these programs fall somewhere in between inpatient and outpatient treatment. PHPs prevent full hospitalization and support your transition from inpatient to outpatient treatment. In a PHP program, you may spend 4–8 hours in treatment per day, at least 5 days a week, for at least 3 months.4

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOP treatment is sometimes used as a step-down from inpatient rehab or PHPs. You may go to an IOP before transitioning to standard outpatient treatment and living back at home full-time. IOPs focus heavily on group therapy and are family-therapy oriented. IOP treatment typically lasts for 1–3 weeks, with group and individual therapy sessions 3 times a week.4 IOP sessions cost from $100–$500 per session, but exact prices vary depending on length and frequency of treatment, with discounts generally offered for longer treatment plans.3

Outpatient: Outpatient treatment allows you to live at home full-time while you seek treatment for your addiction. You will visit the facility only for therapy sessions—allowing you to take care of responsibilities outside of rehab such as working, going to school, and volunteering in the community. Outpatient programs tend to be cheaper than inpatient programs because they do not provide the same intensive level of care. Outpatient programs can last for 2 months up to a year.4

Sober living home: After completing an inpatient treatment program, you might be referred to a sober living home (sometimes referred to as halfway houses). Sober living homes are a safe and drug-free place where you can continue your recovery and prepare to fully transition out of treatment. These programs emphasize developing life skills such as cooking, cleaning, finding work, and avoiding triggers/preventing relapse.

Every facility has a different philosophy on treating addiction, so make sure to call around and find out which type of program is going to be the best fit for you. Many rehab centers offer virtual or on-site tours so you can get a better idea of what the program will offer.

How to Handle Rehab Financing

Researching options for substance abuse treatment.For many people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, paying for rehab without health insurance is one of the biggest barriers preventing them from seeking treatment. Thinking about how to pay for rehab can feel overwhelming, but there are ways to get care even if you choose not to enroll in insurance. Remember, an investment in drug rehab is one of the best decisions you can make for your recovery and for your future.

Loans and Credit Options

There are several financial institutions that specialize in providing loans or credit for healthcare-related issues such as substance abuse treatment. Healthcare loans usually have lower interest rates and are flexible enough to cover the entire cost of your addiction treatment.

The loan amount you qualify for will vary depending on your credit. Having your finances in order before picking a treatment center will help you feel ready to enter treatment. Though not an exhaustive list, here are a few examples of companies that provide financial options to people in need of rehab treatment.

  • My Treatment Lender offers loans for substance abuse treatment. Loans range from $500 to $100,000 depending on the status of your credit. Visit their website for more information and to apply for a loan online. You can also call their customer service line at 1-800-440-4616.
  • Prosper provides healthcare financing with low interest rates and fixed monthly payments to help you pay for treatment. Visit their website or call their customer service line at 1-800-625-7412 for more information.
  • LightStream offers medical financing options. Depending on your credit, you may be eligible for a medical loan between $10,000 and $24,999. Visit their website for a convenient calculator of what your monthly payments may be.
  • Freedom Consultancy provides financing programs for treatment services through a network of registered service providers. Contact them through their website or at 1-801-938-3605.

Ways to pay for rehabilitation.You can also contact your current financial institution that you use for your day-to-day banking to see what loan options they have available. Or, if you have friends or family who are willing and able, you might consider asking them for a personal loan and pay them back on mutually agreed terms.

Another way to pay for rehab without insurance—or to pay for costs not covered by your insurance, such as copays or deductibles—is to apply for a low-interest credit card and pay back the balance as you can. Here are a few credit companies that specialize in healthcare financing:

  • CareCredit offers options to help you pay for treatment. Visit their website for more information and to apply online.
  • AccessOne Credit offers flexible loans to help you pay for your healthcare costs. You can call 1-888-458-6272 to speak to a patient advocate or visit their website for more information.
  • United Medical Credit offers loans up to $25,000 for healthcare expenses, some with interest-free financing. Start an application by visiting their website.

Scholarships

As addiction treatment becomes more broadly recognized as a necessary healthcare service, more scholarship programs are being offered to help people go to rehab without insurance or financial hardship. Below are just a few scholarship options—check to see if you’re eligible to apply.

  • 10,000 Beds Scholarship Program is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to cover the cost of treatment at participating centers. Their application process is easy and includes 25 questions. Apply here.
  • Sobriety Optimization League is a foundation that helps those struggling with substance abuse get the care they need. Submit an application through their online portal.

Fundraising

Saving money and fundraising for treatment costs.If you don’t have health insurance, and poor credit or other obstacles are preventing you from obtaining financing, harness the power of social media to raise funds. If you feel comfortable sharing your story, you can create a campaign to raise money for treatment costs. You might be surprised by how much your friends, family, and the recovery community will contribute. Get started by using a platform such as:

Payment Plans

As you research addiction treatment facilities, talk about your financial needs up front and ask if they offer sliding scale costs, so fees would be based on your insurance coverage and ability to pay. Also ask if they offer financing options, such as lower monthly payments vs. having costs due up front. Don’t be nervous to ask—most facilities are flexible and will work with you to make your treatment goals a reality.

Paying with Public Insurance

Checking your health insurance coverage.Even with the financing options described above, getting into rehab without insurance can be difficult. Public insurance programs are available for this very reason. You can sign up for health insurance today and gain access to more treatment facilities and payment options. Read below for more information on how to check your eligibility and enroll in coverage.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is the largest healthcare insurance program in the country.5 It is a joint federal and state program that provides free or low-cost insurance coverage to low-income applicants who are:6

  • 65 or older.
  • 19 or younger.
  • Pregnant.
  • Disabled.
  • Caring for a child.

Under the Affordable Care Act, eligibility for Medicaid coverage has expanded to include other groups and income levels, depending on your state. If you applied for Medicaid coverage prior to 2010 or in a different state and were turned down, consider re-applying based on the expanded coverage now available.

Question: Does Medicaid cover substance abuse treatment?

Answer: Yes. Every state is different, but they all cover behavioral health services for people with substance use disorders. To find out what your state covers, you can call your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office or visit Medicaid.gov.

Not all rehab facilities accept Medicaid. To find a treatment center that takes Medicaid, check out SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator tool.

How to Enroll:

Apply online for Medicaid by visiting Healthcare.gov or Medicaid.gov and filling out the application. To see if you qualify for Medicaid based on income alone, visit this page.

There is no limited enrollment period for Medicaid. If you qualify, your coverage will be effective either on the date of application or the first day of the month of you applied.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal insurance program that provides coverage for people who are:

  • 65 or older.
  • Of any age and living with certain disabilities.
  • Of any age and living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Medicare benefits include 4 parts:

  • Part A is hospital coverage.
  • Part B is general medical coverage.
  • Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage and is a different path to receiving the coverage provided in parts A and B.
  • Part D is prescription drug coverage.

For more information and a comprehensive overview of Medicare, check out this video

We are here for you in your journey to recovery. Learning about insurance is intimidating and scary to most people. Don’t worry, there are many resources available to make it as easy as possible.

How to Enroll:

If you think you qualify for Medicare, apply online at Medicare.gov. The process is easy and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Check out this easy-to-read guide on how to sign up for Medicare in less than 10 minutes.

The Medicare program has enrollment periods for new applicants. People usually sign up during the initial enrollment period, which is around their 65th birthday. Below is a list of open enrollment dates:

  • Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): The IEP begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and lasts until 3 months after you turn 65. If you have been receiving Social Security benefits for more than 2 years, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare.
  • General Enrollment Period (GEP): If you missed the IEP, you can enroll in the GEP Jan. 1–March 31 every year. If you enroll during this time, your Medicare coverage begins July 1.
  • Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP): Qualifying life events (QLEs) allow you to enroll in Medicare or change your plan outside of the annual GEP. Examples of QLEs include, but are not limited to:7
    • Moving.
    • Losing your current coverage.
    • Adding or dropping other coverage.
    • Changing your Medicare plan.
  • Medicare Open Enrollment: Once you choose a plan you do not have to stay with it forever; you can make changes to your Medicare coverage as your health changes. Open enrollment occurs every year from Oct. 15–Dec. 7, and you can change plans during this time.
  • Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment: At any time during the year, you can add supplemental insurance to your plan if you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Supplemental insurance can help you pay for costs that Parts A and B don’t cover.

So, what’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, and the health insurance marketplaces (or “exchanges”) established under the Affordable Care Act? Check out this comparison graph:

Medicare Medicaid Insurance Marketplace
Who oversees the program?

Federal government

Who oversees the program?

State governments.

Who oversees the program?
Eligibility Requirements:

·      Age 65 or older

·      Any age, with certain disabilities, ESRD, or ALS

 

 

Eligibility Requirements:9

·      A defined bracket of low-income people, families and children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and pregnant women.

·      In some states, coverage applies to all individuals who fall below a certain income level.

Eligibility Requirements:

·      Any uninsured individual

Does this insurance cover substance abuse treatment?

Yes, if the following criteria are met:10

ü  The facility is a Medicare-participating provider,

ü  Treatment is medically necessary, and

ü  Your doctor creates a plan for your treatment.

Does this insurance cover substance abuse treatment?

Yes.

Does this insurance cover substance abuse treatment?

Yes.

Types of substance abuse treatments covered:10

·      Inpatient care

·      Outpatient care

·      Therapy

Post-hospitalization follow-up

·      Outpatient prescription drugs

·      Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT)

 

Types of substance abuse treatments covered:11

·      Varies by state.

·      Most states cover inpatient detox, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and case management.

 

 

Types of substance abuse treatments covered:12

·      Inpatient treatment

·      Outpatient treatment

·      Counseling

·      Psychotherapy

How do I enroll?

Medicare.gov

How do I enroll?

Medicaid.gov

 

How do I enroll?

Healthcare.gov

When can I enroll?

During the 7-month period around your 65th birthday.  Most people who turn 65 are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B.

When can I enroll?

Any time of the year.

When can I enroll?

During open enrollment periods each year. View dates and deadlines here.

Are there special enrollment periods?

Yes. Click here for more information.

 

Are there special enrollment periods?

Yes. Click here to find your state’s Medicaid department.

 

Are there special enrollment periods?

Yes. Visit this website for more information.

 

Utilizing the Affordable Care Act

Seeking help for addiction.The Affordable Care Act (ACA, frequently referred to as “ObamaCare”) was signed into law in 2010. It expanded Medicaid coverage and established affordable health insurance marketplaces for people who don’t have other means of obtaining insurance, such as private insurance through their employer, or public insurance through Medicare or Medicaid.

The ACA was a major victory for people struggling with addiction because it requires all insurance policies sold via the marketplace to cover substance abuse and mental health treatment. For more information about the specific coverage required, visit this website.

The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act extended coverage for substance abuse treatment to 1.29 million low-income Americans who struggle with addiction.13

Anyone can purchase an insurance policy through the health insurance marketplace. Every state has its own marketplace; find yours by visiting this website.

How to enroll?

Apply for health insurance through your state’s exchange by visiting Healthcare.gov. The application process takes roughly 15 minutes. Once approved, enroll in a plan that meets your treatment needs and financial situation. If you enroll before the 15th of the month, your coverage will start on the 1st of the next month. Get started on your application today.

There are yearly open enrollment periods to apply for coverage through the insurance marketplace. If you miss open enrollment, you may be able to qualify for special enrollment. Qualifying life events include:

  • Moving.
  • Losing insurance coverage.
  • Getting married, divorced, or having a baby.
  • Leaving jail.

For a full list of events that qualify you for special enrollment, click here.

What are the Benefits of State-Funded Programs?

State-funded rehab programs are facilities that receive government grants or subsidies to run treatment programs, often in connection with jails or the court system for providing court-ordered addiction treatment. Because of limited funding, these facilities typically do not provide the same amenities (private rooms, lower staff-to-client ratios, innovative treatment approaches) as you’ll find in private centers. Try not to write these off—if you need treatment and have very limited resources, state-funded facilities are an option you should consider.

Not everybody is able to go to a private facility. If this is your only option, take advantage of it! Your life is valuable and you deserve professional treatment.

Don’t be discouraged if you call to enroll in a state-run facility, only to find that they are full. Many people seek treatment here because they can’t afford private treatment. Most state-funded facilities can put you on a waitlist if they are full. Although this is not ideal when you are geared up and ready to enroll in treatment, it’s better than nothing. Plus, you never know how quickly a bed can open up. As long as you’re on the waitlist, there is hope that you will get into treatment soon.

To find state-funded treatment centers in your state, check out SAMHSA’s Directory of Single State Agencies (SSAs) for Substance Abuse Services.

Just because you’re on a waitlist for formal treatment doesn’t mean you can’t seek out 12-step programs or other recovery groups in your community. Here you’ll find connections and support. In fact, you may find people who work at treatment facilities in the area, or who know of other places that can help you. Staying engaged with other people in recovery will help keep you stable until you get admitted into treatment.

Find Strength in Support Groups

Participation in a 12-step or non-12-step group is frequently recommended as a complement to addiction treatment programs, but anyone is welcome to join these free group sessions. Even if finances or insurance keep you from enrolling in formal treatment right away, you can still benefit from the supportive community these groups offer.

Importance of receiving support during recovery.If you’re nervous about joining a group of new people to talk about your personal experiences with addiction, that’s completely normal. Just remember that the benefits of 12-step programs are widely recognized by treatment professionals. Listening to people who have been sober for a long time can inspire you to change your own behaviors and stop using.

12-step support groups help members work the 12 steps originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. The steps have since been applied to substance and behavioral addictions of all types, as well as the family members of those suffering from such addictions.

12-step groups include:

If you do not feel comfortable with the spiritual tenets or any other aspects of 12-step groups, there are alternative recovery support groups that you may find more appealing. These meetings are non-religious, but provide similar outlets for support as 12-step meetings.

Non-12-step groups include:

Call a Helpline for Information

Call a helpline for more information.These helplines provide free and confidential support services—no insurance required. If you are looking for more information on how to move forward with treatment, or just want to talk to someone who knows what you’re going through, these helplines can be a great place to start.

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) operates a National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The helpline is open 24 hours a day and offers assistance in English and Spanish. In addition, SAMHSA’s behavioral health treatment services locator provides an online search of substance abuse and mental health treatment programs in the U.S.
  • The Alcohol and Drug Helpline can help you find a treatment center regardless of insurance coverage, income level, or age. Reach them 24 hours a day by calling 1-206-722-3700.
  • Boys Town National Hotline is a resource for teens, families, and parents. Representatives are trained counselors and are available 24 hours a day at 1-800-448-3000. Counselors can offer assistance in English and Spanish and may help refer you to a treatment center.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is an excellent resource for free, confidential support and resources. Reach them 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
  • The National Runaway Safe Line provides support in crisis counseling. The Safe Line can be reached at 1-800-RUNAWAY.

Other Resources

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Are you worried about losing your job for seeking help for substance abuse treatment? According to non-discrimination laws, people who are battling an addiction are considered to have a disability and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act protect employees from getting fired for seeking treatment.14

The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI): This nonprofit organization helps people find rehab treatment. If you struggle with drug or alcohol abuse,  and you ask a participating police department for help, they will take you to the hospital and/or treatment program instead of arresting you. Participating departments are listed on this page and can help you get adequate treatment.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): In most cases, if you are receiving SSI, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage. When you apply for SSI you also apply for Medicaid.15 For more information on SSI and Medicaid coverage, visit this website.

Sources

  1. Surgeon General’s Report. (2016). Facing Addiction in America.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  3. American Addiction Centers. (2017).
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2008). What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families.
  5. The Kaiser Family Foundation. (2013). Medicaid: A Key Information on the Nation’s Health Coverage Program for Low-Income People.
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2015). What’s Medicare.
  7. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Special circumstances.
  8. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Health Insurance Marketplace.
  9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). Who is eligible for Medicaid?
  10. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2016). Medicare & Your Mental Health Benefits.
  11. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2017). Medicaid’s Role in Addressing the Opioid Epidemic.
  12. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Mental health & substance abuse coverage.
  13. Mental Health First Aid National Council. (2016). Americans with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders: The Single Largest Beneficiaries of the Medicaid Expansion.
  14. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Know Your Rights.15. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Eligibility for Other Government and State Programs.
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