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Helping Your Patients Understand the Costs of Rehab


If you are a healthcare professional working in addiction treatment, you already know the myriad challenges that patients face when trying to fight an addiction. You probably already know how difficult it is to discuss the cost of drug rehab both with and without insurance. Sometimes these challenges can seem insurmountable, and in fact, SAMHSA reports that, of the 22.7 million people struggling with addiction in this country, only 2.5 million people receive treatment in drug rehab each year.

There are plenty of reasons why people do not seek help in drug rehab each year. The SAMHSA stats from 2010 to 2013 show that one of the most commonly reported reasons for not receiving treatment is that the substance user lacks insurance or simply cannot afford the cost of care.

This article, written for healthcare professionals who are working with patients to find acceptable drug rehab solutions, discusses the costs of rehab with and without insurance. What resources can medical professionals use to educate patients about their choices?

Candid Conversations about Drug Rehab

One of the questions you hear most often is whether insurance will cover drug rehab. Fortunately, in many cases, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Work with the patient to determine the answers to the following questions:

  • What exact services does the insurance cover – and for how long?
  • Is the drug rehab in-network?
  • Is detox, medication, or psychotherapy covered?
  • What is the deductible or co-pay?

You can also use this handy calculator to help determine coverage.

However, the cost of rehab certainly depends upon the type of treatment; counseling patients on their options related to what they can afford could encompass everything from 30-day programs to longer-term rehab. In the instances where money is a big issue, look toward low-cost or free resources such as SMART Recovery meetings to supplement outpatient treatment.

While every case is different, severe addiction typically requires an inpatient admission of three to six weeks along with outpatient follow-up. So, thinking outside the box by considering help from family or friends or determining if the patient has access to employer-sponsored benefits may all be a necessary part of scraping together the drug rehab fees. Make sure you understand what resources are available to the individual seeking treatment.

Drug rehab

The costs of not going to drug rehab are far, far higher.

The good news is there is a law, passed more than a decade ago, called the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that requires insurers to cover treatment for substance abuse and mental illness in the same way they cover all other diseases. The bad news for patients and their advocates in drug rehab is that, while the Affordable Care Act expanded parity in insurance under an “essential health benefit,” the current administration seems dead set on dismantling these protections.

The Cost of Not Going to Drug Rehab

Finding creative solutions for patients when insurance isn’t enough – or doesn’t exist – is an imperative. The cost of not seeking treatment is much higher. Helping your patients recognize this fact while helping them find creative ways to finance treatment is an absolute necessity. Contact us to find out more about referring patients to our facilities.

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