How Much Does Rehab Cost?

It’s easy to get the wrong idea about the cost of rehab. Television commercials portray posh oceanfront facilities that look like vacation hotels where celebrities seek help in luxurious surroundings. The truth is that you don’t have to be rich and famous to find the help you need. For many people, the key is understanding what resources are available and finding payment alternatives when insurance isn’t available. Some treatment centers do charge thousands of dollars a day, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from seeking treatment. There’s help out there for people getting by on tight budgets, and many treatment facilities are willing to help by setting up monthly payment plans for those in their care.

Insurance & Rehab

Insurance is one of the most common means of paying for rehabilitation. Getting help for your addiction depends on the terms of your policy and the kinds of insurance your rehab provider will accept.

If you don’t have insurance through an employer or some other private provider, remember that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to help people who lack resources and access to affordable treatment. Under the ACA, addiction is not a pre-existing condition, and need-based tax credits make ACA plans affordable for many people. Those who have Medicare or Medicaid may not be aware that the ACA provides access to a more expansive list of treatment options than their existing plans may offer.

Rehab with Medicare & Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid, a public insurance plan for low-income families, provide coverage for some forms of addiction treatment. Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage may pick up all or just part of your addiction treatment, so pay careful attention to your policy terms, especially since they frequently change. Check with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to find providers who will accept Medicaid as payment for rehab treatment.

Detox, inpatient & Outpatient Costs at Rehab

In general, inpatient rehab programs include detox in the cost of the program, though the exact cost often depends on the type of addiction being treated. Outpatient programs for milder forms of addiction are typically less expensive than inpatient programs. A typical three-month outpatient program costs about $5,000, while high-profile facilities may charge twice that amount. Of course, frequency and length of treatment have a lot to do with these costs.


Medication costs can fluctuate widely depending on the addiction being treated. Some patients require no medication at all, while others may need prescriptions costing thousands of dollars. For example, methadone treatment for heroin can cost more than $4,000, and there are substantial medication costs for the treatment of opiate and alcohol addiction.

Insurance may help with some of these costs, though for patients who lack insurance, the prospect of spending thousands of dollars for addiction treatment can be overwhelming. For those who avoid treatment because of cost, it’s important to bear in mind that over time, financing an addiction is considerably more expensive than most addiction treatments. An addict may spend thousands of dollars a month which, on an ongoing basis, can be absolutely ruinous when compared to the more finite cost of treatment.

Additional Costs of Rehab

The nature of treatment and level of care affect costs, but there are other factors involved. Duration of treatment, staffing (including the number of staff and their level of expertise), sources of funding, and geographical location (for example, treatment on the West Coast is pricier than in the Midwest) all contribute to the cost of rehab treatment.

Rehab Works

Those who believe they can beat addiction on their own and question the cost-effectiveness of rehab treatment probably don’t realize that statistics indicate rehab is very effective in helping people get their lives back. The Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies (DATOS) have shown that just one in four cocaine addicts surveyed five years after treatment were still using on a weekly basis. Rehab treatment also reduces the number of arrests as well as levels of illegal activity and alcohol abuse in those suffering from addiction.

Patients looking for a cost break may seek outpatient treatment over inpatient care, believing it’s not only less expensive, but just as effective. While outpatient treatment is generally less costly, statistics indicate that it is not more effective than inpatient treatment. Ultimately, the severity of your addiction and the best treatment for your condition should guide where you should turn for help, not just cost.

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