Key takeaways:

  • Some plans have a ‘copay’ or ‘coinsurance’, which is a set amount or percentage you have to pay for treatment, while others have a ‘deductible’, or dollar amount you need to pay out of pocket before the plan begins covering expenses
  • Some states even offer free or low-income addiction rehab centers, especially for people who are uninsured and don’t have a high income. Contacting your local Department of Health and Human Services is often the best way to explore options for affordable addiction treatment in your community
  • Regardless of income status, there are hundreds of rehab options that can help you beat addiction. The cost of addiction treatment can be high but should be considered a vital investment in your health and wellbeing

Addiction treatment costs vary greatly depending on the location of the rehab center, whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, the type of treatment required, and whether the program accepts insurance or is self-pay only. There is a wide range of different options for addiction treatment, and most people can find an option that fits within their budget. While treatment for an addiction can be costly, it is also an important investment in your health, your life, and your future, and one that will likely pay you back for years to come. Most addiction rehabs accept three types of payment options; insurance, financial aid, or financing.

Addiction treatment options for insured patients

Insurance is one of the most common ways people pay for rehab and substance abuse treatment and often makes treatment more affordable. The amount of treatment that will be covered will depend on your insurer and what the health provider accepts. Generally, inpatient and residential treatment will be more expensive than outpatient treatment for addiction, and your plan may outline limits on what kinds of treatment are covered.

Some plans have a ‘copay’ or ‘coinsurance’, which is a set amount or percentage you have to pay for treatment, while others have a ‘deductible’, or dollar amount you need to pay out of pocket before the plan begins covering expenses. Most health insurance plans offer at least some coverage for addiction and mental health treatment. The best way to learn about what kinds of addiction treatment your insurance plan covers is to call the number on the back of your insurance card, contact your insurance provider, or log in online to your insurance plan’s patient portal.

Types of insurance that will often cover alcohol or drug addiction treatment include:

  • Medicaid

  • Medicare

  • State-financed health insurance

  • Private insurance

  • Military insurance

Get help during covid-19

Get help during Covid-19

At Recovered, we recognize the impact COVID-19 has had and the continued challenges it poses to getting advice and treatment for substance use disorders. SAMHSA has a wealth of information and resources to assist providers, individuals, communities, and states during this difficult time and is ready to help in any way possible.

Speak to SAMSHA

Addiction treatment options for uninsured patients

According to a recent report, an estimated 30 million people in the US were uninsured in 2020. [1] Fortunately, there are affordable options for uninsured people who need addiction treatment. Some addiction treatment centers offer financing options, allowing for monthly installments that are often more manageable. 

Some states even offer free or low-income addiction rehab centers, especially for people who are uninsured and don’t have a high income. Contacting your local Department of Health and Human Services is often the best way to explore options for affordable addiction treatment in your community. Alternatively, you can also call a local addiction treatment center and inquire about options for affordable treatment, including any rehab scholarship, sliding scale, or financing options they may be able to offer you.

Types of addiction treatment and costs

The type of addiction treatment required to help someone get sober will affect the overall cost of recovery. There are many factors that affect the overall cost of treatment, such as the type of facility, residential stay or not, if medically assisted therapy (MAT) is required, and any long-term treatment needs. The below treatment services are estimates taken as an average and should be seen as a guide only.

Detox and withdrawal monitoring

Detox performed at an outpatient treatment center often ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, while inpatient detox can be $5,000 or higher. The exact cost of detox will depend on the type of substance being detoxed from, what medication and additional treatment are required, and how long a person needs detox services. Those detoxing from dangerous substances, such as alcohol or opioid addiction, will expect to pay more due to the intensive monitoring required. Detox is often a covered service under most health insurance plans, which can help to reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Inpatient addiction treatment

The average cost for a 30-day inpatient rehab program is around $6,000. Luxury centers and those with exceptional reputations can cost $20,000+ for the same 30-day period. Some inpatient addiction programs can require a stay of 60 days or more, which can cost anywhere between $12,000 and $60,000 on average. For those with insurance, these costs are often partially covered by their plan.

Outpatient addiction treatment

For those suffering from mild to moderate addiction or dependence, most outpatient rehab treatments will cost around $5,000 for a three-month program. If the outpatient rehab is prodigious or offers luxury services, such as holistic therapies, then a three-month program can cost over $10,000. These figures not only depend on the type of treatment being offered but also the addiction type itself and how regularly the patient needs to attend the center. On most insurance plans, the coverage for outpatient addiction treatment is more extensive than for inpatient rehab.

Medications

Some people may require medically assisted therapy or other forms of medication treatment during their rehab program. The exact cost of medication depends on the prescription and type of treatment, but it can cost several thousands of dollars a year. For instance, a year of methadone treatment can cost around $4,500. Many insurance plans cover at least some of the costs for prescribed medications, helping to make this an affordable option. Depending on your plan, it may be more affordable to get prescribed a generic medication, rather than the brand name. Calling your insurance plan can help you determine your coverage for generic and brand-name prescribed medications.

Free and low-cost options

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART recovery are often free and can be hugely beneficial for those suffering from addiction. They may only ask for a small donation to help with running costs such as rent and refurbishments. [1] These groups are available in most communities around the US. Generally, these programs are not considered ‘treatment’ because they are often peer-run (instead of led by a licensed professional), but research shows that they can still be effective in helping people overcome addiction and prevent relapse. [2]

Weighing the costs of addiction vs treatment

Studies have shown that the cost of maintaining a substance addiction or dependence will usually be more expensive than the cost of rehab. [3] People often spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on drugs and alcohol over the course of their addiction. Because their tolerance increases over time, they often need to buy more drugs and alcohol to get the same effects. Over time, the financial cost of maintaining their drug or alcohol habit tends to rise.

According to one article, the amount of money a person will spend on drugs or alcohol can be as high as:

  • $3,000-$14,000 per year for a heavy drinker

  • $2,000-$11,000 per year for a cigarette smoker

  • $2000-$6000 for a heavy marijuana user

  • $54,000-$73,000 per year for a person abusing opioid painkillers (purchasing them illegally)

  • $24,000-$93,000 per year for a heavy heroin user

  • $40,000 per year for heavy meth users

  • $55,000 per year for a heavy cocaine user

Regardless of the substance, maintaining an addiction will not only cost you financially but can have a major impact on your lifestyle and health. Factoring in the cost to relationships, work, legal consequences, and the costs to your physical and mental health often help people see the value in addiction treatment services, even when it’s costly. Seeking treatment can also help prevent unforeseen costs such as medical bills from treating overdose or legal problems. The cost of addiction will never outweigh that of getting your life back.

What factors into the cost of addiction treatment?

There are several factors that can either increase or decrease the cost of addiction treatment. 

Some of the main factors impacting the cost of addiction treatment are:

  • Type of treatment needed: those who need medication and 24-hour monitoring during detox, such as benzodiazepine or opioid addicts, can expect to pay more for treatment. Facilities that offer more types of treatment (i.e. on-site medication or detox) may be more expensive but can save people the cost of seeking treatment at multiple facilities.

  • Whether treatment is inpatient or outpatient: outpatient treatment tends to be more affordable than inpatient treatment, especially for those who are self-paying for treatment.

  • Amenities and type of facility: those who opt for a more luxurious rehab facility can expect to pay a high price tag for the available extras. Additional amenities available at luxury rehab centers may include massages, spa treatments, swimming pools, acupuncture, large rooms or suites, 5-star food, and entertainment

  • Whether the facility is state-funded, non-profit, or privately owned: state-funded and non-profit treatment centers tend to offer more affordable treatment than those that are privately owned. 

  • Whether the program accepts insurance: some programs accept insurance, which can make their treatment more affordable than those who do not.

  • Scholarship and financing options: programs that offer scholarships, reduced fees, or financing options can be more affordable for some people than those that require full payment.

  • Location of the facility: because the cost of living varies considerably depending on where you live, location also impacts the cost of treatment. Those in big cities like NYC or LA can expect higher costs for treatment than those in more rural areas.

How to find the right rehab

Regardless of income status, there are hundreds of rehab options that can help you beat addiction. The cost of addiction treatment can be high but should be considered a vital investment in your health and wellbeing. Contact a treatment center today to find out what your treatment options are, and how you can find affordable treatment.