One of the first questions people ask when they’re ready to find treatment is how am I going to pay for this?
Too many people assume that treatment is too expensive for them. Or that there’s no way they can get help if they don’t have insurance.
But you might have more options than you realize.
Private Insurance (Obamacare / Group Plans)
If you bought your health insurance from a healthcare exchange like Healthcare.gov or your state’s insurance marketplace, you’re in good shape.
Every insurance plan in those marketplaces is required to cover substance abuse treatment thanks to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
If you have health insurance through your work, you’re most likely covered as well. That means you have a “group plan” and if there are at least 50 other people on it (your coworkers) then it’s also required to cover substance abuse treatment.
The exact type of treatments covered and the percentage of the total cost that is covered will vary depending on your plan.
If you have insurance, the best thing to do is to call the number on your insurance card and ask them what level of coverage you have for addiction treatment, and what percentage of the cost you will have to pay out of pocket.
Medicare & Medicaid
If you don’t have insurance, it’s worth going onto Healthcare.gov to see if you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.
If you do qualify, it means the government would pay for your addiction treatment.
You can get Medicare if you’re over 65 or have a severe disability.
You qualify for Medicaid if:
- You’re under 18
- You’re disabled
- You have a low-income
What if I don’t have insurance and I can’t get Medicaid?
This is where a lot of people give up. But the good news is there are still other ways to pay for treatment.
If you’re going to be paying for treatment out of your own pocket, a good strategy can be to look for facilities that offer sliding-scale payment.
Sliding-scale means the facility charges based on your ability to pay. If you have low-income, your treatment will be less expensive. If you’re going this route, be prepared to show pay stubs, bank statements, or other documents that explain your financial situation.
You can also ask about getting on a payment plan. Some facilities will work with you to setup a payment schedule that works for you so you won’t have to pay the full cost up-front.
When it comes down to paying the bill though, you’re going to need some cash.
If you don’t have any savings or a retirement plan to tap into, you might need to get a little creative.
Here are a few possible paths for raising the money you need:
Friends & Family - If you have someone close to you willing to help, make sure you suggest that they pay the treatment facility directly. You don’t want them to think you’re going to use the money to fund your habit.
Crowdfunding - If you’re honest with your social network about needing treatment, you never know who might pitch in to help fund it. Platforms like Indiegogo and GoFundMe can help you raise money from your social circle.
Ask your HR department - If you have a job, it’s worth asking your HR department if they can help pay for treatment. This might be a hidden benefit you aren’t aware of.
Scholarships - 10000beds.org gave out $2.5 million in 2017 to help people pay for addiction treatment. Go to 10000beds.org/scholarship to see if you can get a scholarship.
Healthcare loan - These are loans designed for addiction treatment and behavioral health services. They will help you cover the cost of treatment now, and let you repay when you’re back to full health. My Treatment Lender claims to beat any competitor’s interest rate, so they’re worth checking out.
Personal loan - If you have solid credit, you also might qualify for a loan from your bank. No matter what type of loan you choose, make sure it has a fixed-rate. You want to be able to predict your monthly payment.
Healthcare Credit Card - If you don’t have great credit, you might still be able to get a credit card from a company like Care Credit. They offer 0% financing (meaning you pay no interest) for the first 6-18 months. BE CAREFUL though. If you don’t pay off the full amount during the interest-free period, you will end up having to pay a lot of interest. Bottom line, you probably only want to go down this road if you are confident you can pay off the card within the 6-18 month interest-free period.
Regular Credit Card - If you have good enough credit, you might be able to find a card with 0% interest for the first 12 months.
How much does rehab cost?
Cost depends on what type of treatment you receive and how long you receive treatment.
We’ll go into the different types of treatment options in the next chapter, but here’s a ballpark estimate of how much you’ll pay:
Detox: $250 - $800 per day. You could spend 2 - 14 days in detox depending on the drug.
Outpatient: $3,000 - $10,000 for 30 days.
Inpatient / Residential: It really depends on the quality of the facilities. You could pay as low as $2,000 a month for a very low-cost facility, or more than $25,000 a month for a luxury facility. An average inpatient program is $10k-$20k per month.
The True Cost
Even though rehab sounds pricy, you’ll also have to think about the cost of continuing down the road you’re on.
Drugs are expensive. Not just in terms of cash out of your pocket, but in terms of years out of your life.
If you’ve read this far, chances are you already know this, but investing in addiction treatment is an investment in your health and quality of life.
Now that you know how many ways there are to fund treatment, it’s time to look at your options for the treatment itself.