American Addiction Centers (AAC) understands that addiction is a devastating disease. Whether it’s an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or both, the road to recovery can seem long and difficult. The rate of addiction in the U.S. is an ongoing concern with:
- 5 million people age 12 and older with alcohol use disorder (AUD)
- 5 million people age 12 or older with a substance abuse disorder (SUD)
- 74% of adults who also SUD have AUD
While help is available to those in need, many of those struggling do not receive treatment for their addictions. Nearly 40% feel they don’t need it, but over 30% of people don’t get it because they can’t afford it. These people often fall through the cracks, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
The Cost of Addiction Treatment
The cost of addiction treatment depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Whether it is an inpatient or outpatient treatment program
- The length of the treatment program
- The type of treatment program (e.g. government-funded, hospital-run, private-held company)
- Whether there are co-occurring conditions, such as a mental or physical health issue, that also needs treatment
- The amenities and accommodations of the treatment facility (e.g. private rooms, extracurricular activities, etc.)
- The location of the facility
Clearly, there are many factors to consider, but addiction treatment can be a significant financial investment. A 90-day treatment stay at a luxury facility can cost as much as $60,000, which is more money than most people can afford. Not only that, there are often expenses after treatment is over, such as:
- 3-month outpatient treatment – minimum of $5,000
- A sober-living house – between $450 and $800 per month
- Private therapy – minimum of $75 per appointment
- Medication – as much as $25 per day
- Acupuncture – $100 per appointment
These expenses add up to a massive bill over the course of a year or more. If a person has health care coverage, they have a better chance of affording the treatment they need. However, navigating private insurance policies for treatment coverage can be challenging.
Federal law requires insurance companies to cover drug and alcohol addiction just as they would any other medical issue. Despite this, it is common for insurance to cover only 21 days of a 90-day program, leaving the individual to pay the remainder. Sadly, many people can’t afford the additional cost, and are met with tragedy after their abbreviated treatment stays. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Ways to Afford Addiction Treatment
The decision to seek treatment for an addiction takes tremendous courage, and it can be downright disheartening to find out that the cost of care may be out of reach. Fortunately, there are a few options for people who need treatment but have difficulty paying for it.
The Affordable Care Act
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an individual can apply for coverage, even for pre-existing conditions, without penalty. Substance use disorder is one of the central conditions covered by the ACA, and insurance policies are required to treat addiction as they would any other medical condition. Depending on your plan, you can have 60%-90% of the cost of treatment covered.
Medicaid and Medicare
There are some segments of the population that can receive help from federal and state treatment funding. These include:
- People under the age of 19
- People over the age of 65
- Someone who is a parent or is pregnant
- Someone who falls below a certain income level
State Funded Facilities
While state funded treatment centers aren’t as posh as privately funded treatment centers, they still can offer highly effective treatment, and they have helped many people find recovery. Qualifications for acceptance into state funded treatment centers vary by state, and there is an application process that can be found on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
Non-Profit Treatment Centers
There are a number of non-profit addiction treatment programs. These programs are usually available for free or for a small cost. For example, the Salvation Army’s addiction treatment program requires patients to pay the cost of their room and board by working 40 hours a week in their donation centers. In exchange for this, patients receive a six-month treatment program at no cost.
Teen Challenge is another non-profit organization that offers a program for addiction treatment. The cost is minimal, but does differ across states, so check the Teen Challenge programs in your state.
Scholarships can help to pay for or offset the cost of treatment. Organizations like 10,000 Beds work to match those in need of treatment with available beds donated by treatment centers across the country. There is absolutely no cost for treatment, but there can be a lengthy waiting list and a detailed vetting process before scholarships are awarded.
Some companies have employee assistant programs (EAPs) that include help with finding addiction treatment. You will need to check your benefits package to see if your company has such an offering. Generally, they will refer you to an addictions counselor and cover the cost. The counselor can then work with you to find a treatment option that fits your budget.
Help from the Treatment Facility
If you want treatment and have a hard time covering the cost, treatment facilities may take your financial situation into consideration. They may be willing to set up a payment plan to help you finance the rest of your treatment program if your insurance or private funding runs out before the program is over.
If you are ready to get help and want to get into a treatment program, there are options. If you can afford some or all of the cost or your private insurance covers it, you are one step ahead of the game. However, there are resources out there for people who don’t have the financial means to pay for the treatment they need. If you need treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction and aren’t sure if you can afford it, don’t give up hope. Help is out there.
About AAC and Alcohol.org
Alcohol.org is a resource of AAC that is dedicated to the education of the American public, with the goal of helping people understand the seriousness of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and to help eliminate misconceptions about AUD and challenge the cultural norms around drinking.
AAC is a leading organization, dedicated to providing addiction treatment services to Americans in treatment centers across the U.S. They offer 90-day treatment programs, with a guarantee that patients will stay clean and sober, or they will receive an additional 30 days of treatment at no extra charge. AAC treatment programs are designed with a holistic approach in mind, taking into account a patient’s environment, lifestyle, and physical and mental health. AAC is the only publicly traded treatment organization in the country and they have a success rate that is double the national average.
If you or someone you know has experienced blackouts more than once and you feel you need help, please call us on our 24/7 helpline for the public at 1-800-ALCOHOL. For more information visit americanaddictioncenters.org.