7 Ways to Pay for Alcohol Rehab

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Financing Options for Alcoholism Treatment

Is alcohol rehab expensive?

Undergoing an alcohol treatment or rehab is usually expensive. One day inside the treatment facility usually cost around $300. This is one of the reasons why alcohol addicts refrain from seeking professional treatment and choosing the dangerous process of self-detox instead.

Alcohol treatment and rehab is usually costly.

Even if you don’t choose a luxury rehab facility that serves gourmet food and has an in-house spa, expect to shell out about $300 a day for inpatient services at a place that provides just the basic services.
Costs often keep alcohol addicts or those with problem drinking behavior away from seeking professional treatment. Some undertake the very risky process of self-detox; others continue with their habits, often with catastrophic consequences both for themselves and those around them.

What payment options are available for addiction treatment?

Payment options to available for alcohol treatment include:

  • Private health insurance
  • Medicare or Medicaid plans
  • Negotiate payment terms with the rehab facility
  • Government grant application
  • Free or low-cost rehab facilities
  • Veterans Administration (VA) benefits
  • Personal financing options

Financing Options for Alcoholism Treatment

It is really unfortunate that so many people do not know there are ways and means to finance their alcohol rehab without breaking the bank. Listed below are 7 such ways; consider exploring them and spread the word:

  1. Use Your Private Health Insurance Cover

With the passing of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008, health insurance providers are now required to treat expenses for mental health and substance abuse disorders at par with medical care and surgical procedures and provide coverage accordingly. Most addiction treatment centers accept insurance by private providers like Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Here’s how you can pay for alcohol treatment and rehab with private insurance:

  • Private health plans can cover whole or partial costs of treatment at an alcohol rehab facility. Call your carrier or visit their website to learn about the benefits of your particular plan.
  • Health policies sponsored by the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) or Obamacare cover about 60 to 90 percent of the costs of alcohol rehab. You most likely have an ACA-sponsored health plan if you bought your policy through the Health Insurance Exchanges online platform.
  • Apply for a health plan sponsored by the ACA even if you already have alcohol use disorder. According to the ACA, an insurance applicant cannot be penalized and denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like substance use disorder.

But before you enter treatment, ensure that you have the following details about your coverage with you:

  • Do you have to go through an outpatient alcohol treatment program to be considered eligible for coverage for being treated at an inpatient facility?
  • Do you have to make a co-payment every time you visit the outpatient facility?
  • Is there a coverage cap on the maximum number of visits in a year?
  • Is there a maximum coverage limit on the dollar value of the treatment?
  • If you have a dual diagnosis, will your health plan cover costs of treating both the conditions?
  • If you have a dual diagnosis and both conditions have to be treated simultaneously, will your carrier bill you for two separate treatments? If so, then you have to consider looking for other sources of money that will continue to fund one treatment should you reach the maximum limit of the policy for the other treatment.
  • Will the insurance company cover treatment carried out only at facilities it has approved?
  • Will the insurance company cover all the therapies that might be prescribed as part of the treatment process?
  • What is the approximate addiction treatment program length?
  1. Take Advantage of Medicare or Medicaid Plans

Medicare and Medicaid plans for certain specific segments of the population also cover the costs of alcohol treatment and rehab.

The following groups of the population are eligible for Medicaid plans to cover alcohol treatment and rehab:

  • People above the age of 65 years
  • Individuals under the age of 19 years
  • Pregnant women
  • A parent
  • People whose incomes are in a certain bracket

People who are aged more than 65 years or those who are differently-abled are eligible for Medicare plans to cover alcohol treatment.

  1. Negotiate Payment Terms with the Rehab Facility

It is a misconception that alcohol rehab centers are out there to extract whatever money they can from you. The truth is that these facilities want you to complete the treatment and emerge from their portals healthy and ready to reclaim your life.
You will be amazed to discover how willing most treatment centers are to negotiate costs and payment terms with you, so you do not stay away from recovery:

  • Some centers offer scholarships based on certain criteria. Make sure that you ask them if you have options.
  • Often facilities work with third-party lenders to create loan packages for you, so you can pay back after you come out of rehab. Some facilities have their own lending packages.
  • Several private residential alcohol rehab facilities negotiate prices with you if you let them know how much funds you have available with you.
  • Almost all alcohol rehab facilities are open and willing to tweak treatment methodologies, so you can complete your treatment in the most effective manner without breaking your bank. For instance, if you have reached a certain level of recovery, you may choose to avail the rest of the services through an outpatient facility.
  1. Apply for a Government Grant

Do government-funded facilities offer free alcohol rehab?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides grants to eligible citizens who needs to undergo alcohol rehab. There are also federally-sponsored and state-managed rehab facilities that provide public assistance.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides grants to certain sections of the population, like pregnant and postpartum women, for alcohol treatment and rehab. These are not loans but funds that you don’t have to repay.

SAMHSA makes available these grants through designated rehab facilities that provide treatment services backed by evidence-based research. You can apply for these grants through the treatment facility you choose to enroll in. These are usually government-assisted facilities. But remember that you may have to furnish evidence that you have spent the money for purposes listed specifically in the grant.

Additionally, federally-sponsored and state-managed rehab centers with outpatient, inpatient, and aftercare facilities provide public assistance. For instance, the state of New York pays for the treatment and rehab of people convicted of minor offenses instead of making them serve a prison term. However, you have to fulfill certain criteria and furnish proof of the following to avail public assistance in any form:

  • You are a citizen of the U.S.
  • You reside in the state where the public assistance program is provided.
  • The degree and duration of your addiction.
  • You are unable to afford other treatment options.
  1. Search for Free or Low-Cost Rehab Facilities

The cost of alcohol rehab varies depending on the services you seek and the treatment methodology the doctors decide on.

Outpatient services cost less than getting enrolled in an inpatient program.
And of course, luxury rehabs charge more than facilities that provide basic accommodation and support services.

However, you can consider the following low-cost or free treatment options:

  • Non-profit alcohol rehab centers provide treatment at little or at no cost at all.
  • The Salvation Army provides free treatment for six months if the person is willing to work 40 hours a week to pay for the accommodation. The work can be helping with the administrative tasks or sorting donated items at the warehouse.
  • You can ask for low-cost treatment referral at SAMHSA’s 24-hour national helpline.

However, these treatment centers have long waiting lists. In the meantime, you can avail of outpatient services, sometimes provided by these facilities.

  1. Take Advantage of Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs provides financial assistance to eligible veterans to sponsor alcohol treatment and rehab. The Veterans Administration (VA) benefits include:

  • Screening for problem drinking behavior or alcoholism
  • Outpatient treatment for both long- and short-term
  • Intensive inpatient treatment
  • Medically assisted detoxification
  • Individual and group counseling and therapy
  • Medication to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings
  • Self-help groups
  1. Explore Personal Financing Options
If you are reading this, then it is likely that you can’t pay for rehab out of your pocket. But don’t worry, there are still quite a few options that do not involve seeking aid from the government, a time-intensive process, or giving in to the whims of private insurance providers.

Consider these options:

  • Pay for your treatment with your credit card. Search for a credit card with a low-interest rate, so you can repay the loan comfortably. Consult the alcohol intervention specialist about the payment options.
  • Obtain a personal loan from the bank. Look for a loan with the lowest interest rate. But here’s a word of caution: steer clear of payday loans. They tend to come with steep fees and exorbitant interest rates that will leave you more financially strapped in your life after rehab than before.
  • Ask your friends and/or family members to loan you the money. You can ask them to give the money directly to the rehab center, so they are assured that they are not indulging in “enabling” behavior by creating opportunities for you to buy drinks.
  • Take out some money from your savings account, IRA, or 401(k) plan.
  • Access the equity on your home.
  • Ask for cash donations through virtual fundraising platforms like GoFundMe.com. Create a campaign and write here how your addiction has affected you and how you will use the funds that you can raise through this platform. You can post the link to this campaign on your social media account or email them to your friends and family members.
  • Sell some of your valuable but non-essential belongings. Items like jewelry, digital equipment, art objects like paintings, antique collectibles, music collections, boat, sports memorabilia, and sports equipment like skis, exercise machines, and snowboards can be sold off quickly and will fetch good money as well.
  • Ask if your neighbors, friends, and/or family members can donate items that they don’t need, so you can arrange a yard sale to sell these. According to this report in LA Times, many rehab centers offer heavy discounts on the cost of treatment if you choose to pay by cash.

The goal of alcohol rehab is to give you the greatest chance at sobriety, so they always try to make their treatment programs affordable and achievable to the greatest number of people. Governments realize the social burden (alcohol-induced violence) and economic costs (absenteeism at work, lost productivity – which is why they help to secure job during rehab) of alcoholism. So agencies readily assist or sponsor the treatment of individuals who are unable to bear the costs themselves. Most importantly, your friends and relatives want to see you live a healthy and productive life. You will be surprised how willingly they will loan you money to help you avail the treatment you need. Just ask if you think it is time to seek help!


Gregory Okhifun

Dr. Gregory Okhifun

Medical Reviewer

Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with over five years’ experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience writing for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals.
He also serves as medical coordinator and content writer for Gerocare Solutions, for which he also volunteers as a health advisor/consultant for the elderly.
Dr. Okhifun enjoys traveling, meditation, and reading.

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