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Ways To Pay For Alcohol Rehab

Alcoholism, or an addiction to alcohol, can tear apart the lives of families and individuals who suffer from it. Millions of Americans have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and 88,000 people die from an alcohol-related cause every year. Not only does alcohol abuse affect people’s lives, but it also imposes a great economic burden, costing the United States over $200 billion annually.

While there are treatment options for people with an AUD, many people never access them. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, only 7.9% of American adults with an AUD receive treatment and only 5% of American adolescents receive treatment. There are many reasons why people do not seek treatment. They may deny that they have a problem with alcohol, they may not be ready to get help and stop drinking, and they may be unaware of their options. Additionally, many people want rehab, but believe that it’s unaffordable.

There is good news if you find yourself asking, “how do I pay for rehab?” There are many payment options for each person’s needs and budget. When selecting a treatment facility, one must consider how long they plan to stay in rehab, whether the program will be inpatient or outpatient, and which amenities and services they want. It’s important to ask how different programs handle relapse, the success rate of different treatment programs, and whether the treatment is covered by insurance.

Private/Employer Insurance

Private insurance is a health insurance plan that is not government-run and is usually provided by an employer. In 2016, about 49% of Americans received insurance through an employer. Some of the largest providers of health insurance are UnitedHealth, Cigna Healthcare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Most private insurance plans cover some of the cost of addiction treatment, while some plans cover treatment entirely.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) lists treatment for substance use disorders as one of 10 essential health benefits, so all health insurance plans must cover services for addiction treatment. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) makes it illegal for employers to fire employees for seeking treatment for addiction and requires them to hold their jobs in place until they return from rehab. These laws have made it possible for people to get treatment when treatment may have felt impossible for them in the past.

Medicaid And Medicare

Medicaid and Medicare are government-run health insurance programs that offer coverage to Americans with low incomes and Americans over the age of 65. Medicaid covers healthcare costs for over 72 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. For an individual to be eligible for Medicaid, the average annual income limit to receive benefits is about $16,000 and the limit for a family of 4 is around $34,000. Medicaid covers health screenings, family counseling, addiction treatment medications, inpatient and outpatient rehab, and more.

Medicare offers health insurance to anyone over the age of 65, regardless of their income. Medicare covers inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol rehab, along with screenings and addiction treatment medications. Senior citizens are an at-risk population for AUD, with studies having found that 15% of older adults in America exceed recommended limits for alcohol consumption. Older adults with depression and chronic health conditions are 5 times more likely to be problem drinkers and may need treatment to address both alcohol addiction and mental health issues.

Military Insurance

Tricare is the health care program of the United States Department of Defense Military Health System. Tricare may be another option you can use to pay for rehab, since it provides coverage for uniformed service members, veterans, and their families. The program covers substance use disorder treatment, including alcohol detox, inpatient and outpatient rehab, mental health therapeutic services, and withdrawal symptoms management. Tricare also pays for Psychiatric Residential Treatment Centers where you can get all-day support in a therapeutic environment during your recovery.

To qualify, potential Tricare members must be under age 21 and have a significant impairment. Because PTSD is so prevalent among active service-members and veterans, Tricare covers mental health care in addition to substance abuse treatment.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides grants to programs which help people overcome substance use disorders and mental illness. SAMHSA federal funding targets populations like pregnant women, intravenous drug users, and women with dependent children. At the SAMSHA website, you can search for participating treatment centers by location, treatment type, payment options, and special programs.

Rehab Scholarships

Individual facilities, corporations which manage facilities, and non-profit organizations often provide rehab scholarships to help people who cannot afford treatment pay for rehab. These scholarships cover all or some of the cost of inpatient and outpatient rehab, and may fill gaps in a person’s insurance plan. To be eligible for a scholarship, you must have exhausted all other options for payment assistance. These include options like Medicaid, insurance, help from family and friends, and community resources like churches and government programs. Scholarships are typically given to those who are truly dedicated to recovery. A scholarship requires a person to complete an entire treatment program. If a scholarship recipient leaves treatment early, they will be required to pay for it.

People who need special treatment, such as for dual diagnosis, are good candidates for rehab scholarships. The non-profit foundation 10,000 Beds gives scholarships to people who are ready to commit to 30 days of treatment and connects them with inpatient rehab facilities with vacancies. Anyone who is interested in applying will have to be assessed by a medical professional who can attest that treatment is vital. While applying for a scholarship, it is a good idea to create a long-term plan to demonstrate your commitment to recovery.

Learn More About Rehab Today

A 2013 survey found that the top two reasons why people with a drug or alcohol addiction did not seek treatment is that they did not have health coverage and could not afford it, and that they were not ready to get sober. While someone cannot be forced to commit to sobriety, there are millions of other Americans who want to start recovery but hesitate because of financial fears.

Paying for rehab might seem daunting, but there are options available. Contact a treatment provider today for more information.