Going to drug rehab to treat a substance use disorder is the right decision for many people. However, not everyone who needs addiction treatment can afford it, including those without insurance. So, what happens to them, and do they have options? The answer is yes.
No matter what a person’s financial situation is, they should not pass up opportunities to seek life-saving help. If this is your situation or that of your loved one, we want you to know that there are payment options that make drug rehab affordable and allow you to get the help you need.
It may cross your mind to avoid the price tag of rehab and just tough it out. After all, addiction treatment can be costly, running up to at least $1,000 a day, if not more. Still, the cost of not getting any medical help for an addiction is far more costly than any amount you could pay.
Leaving a drug or alcohol abuse problem untreated almost guarantees individuals in active addiction will continue to struggle with their substance use. These struggles could lead them to overdose and permanently or fatally injure themselves. If you meet the criteria for a substance use disorder (SUD) outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), you most likely will find it challenging to stop using addictive, harmful substances without professional medical help and therapy.
Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that affects all facets of a person’s life, from their career and mental, physical, and emotional health to their finances and interpersonal relationships. If you need help with recovering from an addiction, it is normal to feel anxious if you do not have the money to pay for it. It can be overwhelming to face this reality on top of having a substance addiction. Many people let the costs of rehab stop them from pursuing treatment. An estimated 10% of U.S. residents who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder actually receive treatment for it, according to federal data.
A silver lining is that addiction is treatable with evidence-based techniques that accredited facilities throughout the country offer to their clients. If you have decided that now is the time to get the help you need, keep reading, even if you don’t have insurance coverage.
Regardless of your financial standing, you have a right to receive the treatment you need for a substance use disorder. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes drug and alcohol addiction treatment among its 10 essential benefits. Any insurance policies that are sold on the ACA marketplace must cover addiction treatment. You will have to review what’s offered in terms of coverage, but inpatient and outpatient care under the ACA should provide evaluations, diagnoses, and treatment for substance use disorders as well as mental health disorders.
This applies to insurance policies that are offered through Medicaid or a state health insurance exchange. You will have to check the rules in your state, but generally, the ACA requires Medicaid insurance to cover addiction treatment programs partially or fully.
The options available that make addiction treatment affordable and attainable will change depending on the person who needs treatment. Not all options will work for everyone, so you will have to take some time to assess your situation and find programs that work for you. Below are options that are often used:
People who do not have insurance or enough insurance to cover treatment costs can explore attending a rehab facility that is funded with state money. These centers offer essential treatment services that are designed to help people recover from substance misuse and sustain their sobriety. These services include medical detox, behavior therapy, vocational training, among others. In addition to money from the state, these facilities receive Medicaid reimbursement and federal block grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Funding varies across states for these facilities as well as the kinds of services they offer, so you will have to review what is offered at each facility you consider. When you review your state-funded options, you will want to pay attention to the eligibility criteria that you will be required to meet should you choose to receive treatment at a state-funded rehab facility.
You likely will have to meet basic requirements, such as proof that you have legal status as a U.S. citizen and that you live in your state. Your medical history, substance use history, and income and debt status may also be among the requirements. If you meet all of these criteria and any others required in your state, you should be able to begin your program as soon as a spot becomes available.
The Wait to Get into a State-Funded Rehab Can Be Long
One downside to public, state-funded addiction rehab programs is that money can be limited, and the demand for these programs is strong, which means it could take a while for you to get in. A person’s condition or situation can determine where they land on the priority list, as well. Pregnant women with addiction problems could move ahead in line over someone who is not in this situation, for example.
You also may not be able to receive the specific kinds of treatment you need at a facility for your particular condition as some state-funded rehabs may not offer it. If you require a certain treatment placement, such as inpatient rehab, or a specific therapy or medication, your state-funded rehab option may not have it. You also may not be able to access the latest treatment approaches or receive personalized attention as the clinician-to-patient ratio may be high.
All of these are things to consider, but again, it is better that individuals in active addiction receive some kind of treatment instead of no treatment at all. You can find a state-funded rehab on this site that SAMHSA offers.
Some religious organizations, such as those of the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim faith, offer free rehabilitation services for people who need to recover from addiction. Some of these programs also receive state funding. If you want to seek help from a facility that offers drug and alcohol rehab programs based on a specific faith and/or set of religious beliefs, they are available.
Some people turn to a Higher Power to guide them as they put their lives back together while recovering from substance abuse. In addition to the mental, emotional, and physical effects of addiction recovery, faith-based drug or alcohol rehabs also focus on the spiritual aspect of treatment to help people leave a life of substance addiction behind. They incorporate teachings and practices of their faith in addiction treatment.
In addition to spiritual guidance, these programs can also offer job training, childcare, meals, transitional housing, and other services. Faith-based rehabs also connect people to a community that understands their needs and how faith plays a role in their recovery. You can start your search for a faith-based recovery center online or at an area church or a faith-based organization.
Drug Rehab Scholarships, Grants
If you have no insurance for rehab, you could consider applying for a scholarship or grant to help you cover the cost. These awards can partially or fully cover the costs, depending on the funds that are available. They are usually awarded based on need, so you should find out what the scholarship requirements are. Be ready to share your story and your financial status, as well as your situation concerning insurance. You also will want to apply for more than one scholarship or grant in case one opportunity doesn’t work out for you.
You can start looking for scholarships at area drug treatment centers or doing an online search for funding in your state. You can ask around for referrals, too. You can visit local charities to see if they offer funding for drug and alcohol recovery, too.
Some people opt to take out a bank loan or personal loan to cover their treatment costs. If you choose this option, do your research before signing on the dotted line. Look for loans that offer attractive interest rates that allow you to pay back the money with manageable payments.
You may be able to secure a loan that can pay you the money as you start treatment and then requires repayment after you exit treatment. You also may be able to find a loan that allows for a grace period before you have to start paying the money back.
Other Options for Paying for Drug Rehab
While you may not want to take on additional debt to pay for addiction treatment, it is an option to consider. A low-interest rate credit card or one that has no interest rate could help you pay for your recovery program. It would be ideal to pay off your balance by the time your bill is due, but for most people, that would be challenging to do. In the case that you do carry a balance from month to month, you would be able to manage the interest rate with the goal of paying the card off.
You may want to consider looking for a credit card company that offers financing options for health care. Such a company could offer financing without an interest rate or loans that offer more flexibility than traditional credit.
You could have a yard sale to raise money for rehab, or you can take some of your items to sell to a consignment store or pawn shop. Every bit can go toward paying for treatment. Some people use online donation forums such as GoFundMe to raise money for rehab that way. Some people without insurance can use their personal savings to go toward their treatment costs, while others may need to seek financial help from family and friends for help.
Asking people close to you for help with paying for treatment can be a sensitive issue. We recommend that before approaching your loved ones, research what it will cost to receive rehab without insurance and map out a plan to explain what they would be helping you pay for.
You can also ask if a sliding scale payment option is available. Some facilities use this for people who cannot afford treatment. They will accept the payment that the patient can reasonably afford to pay.
No matter what program you choose, your substance treatment program must have a few basic services that will have to be covered. The basics fall along the continuum of care as outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Various services will factor into how much your program will cost, so these need to be considered as you determine how much rehab will cost.
A sound rehab program includes most or all of these services:
Medical detox: Depending on how far along your substance use disorder is, your treatment may begin in medical detox, a 24-hour medically monitored process that ensures you regain medical stability and receive the help you need to get through drug or alcohol withdrawal safely. You will be assessed for any physical and mental health conditions you have and may be given medications to help ease any uncomfortable symptoms you experience.
Medical professionals will be on hand to help you through any emergencies that may arise during your detox period. If needed, you may be put on a tapering schedule to help the body adjust as the body recovers from not having the drug in its system.
You will also have to consider how to pay for residential (inpatient) care or outpatient care. Each setting comes with a different set of costs.
Residential (inpatient) care: This is the highest level of addiction care you can receive. If this setting is recommended for you, you will be required to stay on-site at a facility for at least 30 days or longer, depending on your situation. An on-site stay requires you to cover the costs of your room, meals, and around-the-clock monitoring in a structured environment geared toward minimal distractions. At the same time, you will receive therapies and other personalized services that promote your recovery. You also will receive medication therapy and medical attention as needed. Some people can stay up to three months (90 days) in residential care. This length of stay can give those in recovery their best chance of making their recovery effective, per research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Outpatient care: If it is determined that you can live off-site at home, in transitional housing, or somewhere else, you could consider an outpatient program. This arrangement allows people to commute between where they live and a treatment facility for a specific number of hours on appointed days to receive therapy and counseling from a mental health professional. They also may receive medication management services and other guidance that can help them stay on track with their recovery program.
Outpatient programs require nine or fewer hours a week, while intensive outpatient programs require more than nine hours a week. Your treatment professionals will assess your needs so they can determine how long your program will be. Outpatient programs offer more flexibility, and people find them affordable because they don’t have to pay for room and board for an extended stay at a rehab facility.
Other placements that require fewer hours are partial hospitalization programs (PHP), in which patients spend a few hours at least three days a week. During that time, they also receive therapy and other skills to help them work through their substance use issues. PHP is often referred to as a bridge program between inpatient and outpatient treatment. PHP is ideal for people who have completed a higher level of treatment but are not ready for a less structured environment.
After you exit treatment, the facility you attend may offer aftercare services that support you as you reenter the world post-treatment. This transition period can be challenging, which is why we recommend you receive treatment at a facility that offers such a program. Aftercare services can help you find and maintain employment, teach you life skills, such as how to manage your finances or set goals, and connect you with a community that can support you as you grow in your newfound sobriety.
In addition to offering the standard treatment settings along the continuum of care, consider if your program offers:
Addiction education courses. Here, you will learn what addiction is (and what it isn’t), as well as how various substances affect the body. You will also learn the effects of addiction on one’s life, including how they affect relationships.
Behavioral therapy. Your program should offer behavioral therapies that help patients move away from their need to use drugs and alcohol, or other addictive substances. The therapies offered can change depending on the person. A common one offered in rehab is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy helps people identify those negative thought patterns that can prompt them to engage in undesirable behaviors that lead them back to substance use. CBT gives them practical strategies to replace self-defeating habits with ones that can help them plan a better future for themselves.
Individual therapy. Taking an honest look at yourself and accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions is important while recovering from substance abuse. Individual therapy offers the opportunity to reflect on what you need to do to move forward in your recovery.
Group therapy. You can also connect and interact with others so you can grow in your recovery journey and know that you are not alone. Listening to others’ experiences can also help you see yourself in a new light.
Family therapy. The role of the family in a loved one’s recovery from addiction is critical to their healing as well as the one who is receiving addiction treatment. If the program you are considering offers sessions that allow the family to come together to address your addiction, please consider receiving this kind of therapy. It can help the family unit figure out how to move forward as a loved one works to change their life around.
You will likely notice that you have thousands of treatment facilities to choose from. But while having options is nice, you still have additional things to consider as you map out your treatment plan. As you start planning where you can go despite not having insurance, you should also think about:
- The length of your recovery program (your substance abuse history, whether you have co-occurring disorders along with your substance use disorder can make your stay longer)
- Where the rehab facility is located (The facility could be in your home state vs. out-of-state, which tends to be more expensive.)
- What kinds of therapies are offered? (Do they offer additional therapies besides the standard ones? These can include specialized behavioral therapies, such as eye movement desensitization and processing therapy, or holistic therapies, such as yoga, massage, or yoga. )
- Whether you will attend rehab at a public or private facility
- What services, amenities, or features you can access at the facility
- Whether you can afford to miss time away from work for rehab and for how long
Even if you do all your research, you may still have questions or concerns that would be better answered by a representative at the facility you are considering. If so, don’t be afraid to ask. They can guide you in finding the appropriate program for your needs.
You can expect the cost of rehab to change depending on where you go and where you are in your substance use disorder. As drug or alcohol rehab is an important investment of money, time, resources, and energy, you will also have the following to review:
- A rehabilitation facility’s credentials (Is it accredited? If so, by whom?)
- Quality of treatment plans offered (Are treatment plans customized for each client’s specific and unique needs?)
- Track record of offering patients personalized treatment (How does the facility ensure each patient is getting the care they require?)
We understand if you feel like you can’t afford to receive treatment for a substance abuse problem without having insurance to cover the cost. But the truth is you can’t afford not to get the treatment you need and deserve. Many people who opt out of receiving help go on to fight a hard battle with addiction that costs them a great deal, including their lives.
Rehab programs address your specific condition and help you withdraw from the drugs you have been accustomed to using, and use effective approaches to teach you how to end your substance use and adopt strategies that promote healthy and sober living. Without these in place, you will be more likely to relapse, which is common in recovery. Relapse does not mean you failed; it means your treatment approach needs to change to meet your current needs.
California Highlands Addiction Treatment can teach you how to recognize your triggers so you can avoid a relapse. However, if you relapse, we can help you recover and get you back on track with your recovery program. Call us today so we can get started on helping you look for ways to pay for drug rehab without insurance. Addiction treatment for people who are uninsured or uninsured are welcome and encouraged to seek the help they need before it’s too late.