There are a variety of reasons that people don’t get addiction treatment help when they need it, but a common reason is that many can’t afford the cost of treatment. Not all substance abuse treatment programs are created equally; thus, the price of treatment varies widely. While the cost of treatment can be high, there are solutions that can help bridge the price gap.
In 2010, President Barrack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into effect, which benefited a large number of uninsured Americans. This implementation aided in insuring 16.4 million people who didn’t have health insurance before, the United States Department of Health and Human Services reports. Still, a lack of coverage is a problem for many people in the United States who need substance abuse treatment. According to SAMHSA, 59.6 percent of the individuals who got treatment in 2011 didn’t have health insurance, 21.3 percent were covered by Medicaid, and 10.5 percent had private insurance.
As Medicaid has continued to expand coverage limits across more than half the nation’s states, coverage for drug and alcohol rehab has followed suit. Medicaid notes approximately 14.6 percent of the population that is reached by the program’s expansion are thought to have substance use disorders. For the millions who failed to get treatment in 2011, 37.3 percent cited a lack of health coverage or other means to afford rehab, per SAMHSA.
Being uninsured is an equally as large problem for people affected by mental illness. Think Progress notes 45.6 million people suffered from a mental health disorder in 2011, and only 38.2 percent sought treatment, with over half reporting an inability to pay for it. An additional 8.3 percent had insurance that didn’t cover enough of their treatment cost, and 6.7 percent reported their health coverage wouldn’t pay for any of the cost.
Private payment is a commonly chosen option for rehab, but this may often be due to the fact that so many don’t have adequate insurance coverage and are left with no other choice. There are supplementary options though. In many cases, there are state grants and facility-provided assistance programs in place to help cover the bill of substance abuse rehabilitation. Almost half of all treatment funding is derived through grants or other forms of state and local government assistance, according to Health Affairs.
In some instances, the treatment facility an individual chooses may have payment assistance programs available for clients that can demonstrate financial need. Under these programs, the facility itself covers a portion of the treatment costs.
Sliding scale fees are another payment option that facilities may offer. This allows clients to provide the treatment facility with proof of income that can help to determine how much they can reasonably afford to put toward the cost of rehabilitation. From there, an income-based payment plan is structured so the client can seek affordable help. According to SAMHSA, 2,640 treatment centers in the United States offer payment assistance programs, and 4,722 supply sliding scale options.
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There are a few ways that individuals in need of treatment can trim the cost of rehab. The first involves the type of treatment that is chosen. Certain facilities charge more for treatment across the board than others. Generally, these treatment centers offer luxury features and spa-like amenities that make rehab more comfortable. While these perks are certainly appealing, and can make it more likely that clients stay in treatment for longer (often resulting in better treatment outcomes), they are not necessary if price is an issue.
Generally, hospitalized care will be among the most expensive options for treatment. However, insurance is more likely to pay for hospitalized care than many other types of care. Outpatient care is generally the most inexpensive treatment option, making it the most popular form of addiction treatment. Outpatient care may be an effective treatment choice for those with short-term or less severe addiction issues.
Most treatment centers have staff members who can assist prospective clients with the financial aspects of a rehab stay. They can walk individuals through pricing structures and help nail down the specifics of insurance coverage. As a result, clients will know the exact dollar amount that they might be expected to pay out of pocket. This helps to prevent any surprises down the road, allowing clients to fully focus on the treatment process and sustained recovery without worrying about the financial details along the way.