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Who Pays for Rehab When You Can’t Afford It?

When you’re struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, getting into a rehab program can be the best move you can make.  But many people who are ready to start the journey toward recovery never take that first step, simply because they can’t afford it. Now, though, a variety of federal, state and local resources are available to cover the cost of rehab for those who can’t afford to pay.

Quality inpatient rehab programs can be expensive, and so can many outpatient ones. Even though some of these programs offer financial help in the form of sliding fee scales, scholarships and payment plans, the overall cost can still be out of reach. That’s why a number of government-supported programs and community services are funding both inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs for anyone who wants them.

State-Funded Addiction Treatment Services

State funding for both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs is available in all US states, but the amount and the kind of programs covered can vary.  State agencies can administer federal grants for drug and alcohol rehab, or utilize funds generated within the state.

Some state funding for drug and alcohol rehab is funneled through social welfare agencies, children’s services and the courts. Other funding is routed through mental health services for those with dual diagnoses of a mental health condition along with addiction.

To apply for rehab funding from state sources, contact your state’s Department of Economic Security and other social service programs. Although the waiting list can be long for state-funded inpatient rehab programs, most offer some form of outpatient services while you move up the list. Be prepared to provide the necessary documentation, which typically includes:

  • Proof of residence
  • Documentation of your inability to pay for treatment
  • Citizenship or legal resident status
  • Information about the nature and history of your addiction

Locally Funded Rehab Services

Who Pays for Rehab

Free rehab programs are often funded by the state or federal grants.

In addition to state-funded rehab programs, many communities offer programs that are paid for by funding generated at the local level.  Some local community service agencies administer federal grants from agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to pay for substance abuse programs.

Local nonprofit agencies may also offer no-cost rehab programs. These agencies may be affiliated with churches or other community entities, and get funding from private donations as well as fundraisers and other non-government sources. Contact local social service agencies or community centers in your area for information about available resources. To apply, you’ll typically be asked to provide documentation showing you live in the community and have no way to pay for rehab on your own.

Medicare Can Fund Rehab

Medicare is a government funded health program for those 65 and over. Anyone who has Medicare Parts A (hospitalization) and B (medical) is eligible for a number of Medicare funded substance abuse services. These services can include:

  • Inpatient rehab in a hospital setting and specialized facilities
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Outpatient rehab programs
  • Medical detox
  • Counseling

Medicaid Offers Expanded Coverage for Rehab

Medicaid is a government sponsored healthcare program for those who have very low incomes, or are disabled. Low income women who are pregnant and families with very small children may also be eligible for Medicaid coverage that also includes rehab and substance abuse treatment programs.

The availability of substance abuse services through Medicaid varies by state. Recently, states that implemented expanded coverage through the Affordable Care Act are able to add rehab and related services to their general Medicaid programs. Check with Medicaid and your local social service agencies for information on services in your state.

What Makes Free Rehab Programs Different From Paid Programs

Veterans Administration Services

The Veterans Administration offers substance abuse coverage for eligible low-income veterans of military service in every state.  These services include:

  • Long and short term outpatient rehab programs
  • Inpatient rehab in VA hospitals and specialized rehab facilities
  • Medical detox and follow up
  • Self-help groups
  • Counseling for substance abuse issues

Contact your local Veterans Administration offices or a VA hospital for information on how to get access to services. You’ll need to document your military service, substance abuse history and financial need.

The Affordable Care Act Expands Coverage for Addiction Services

The Affordable Care Act has expanded substance abuse related services through Medicare and through the ACA health insurance exchanges available in individual states.  Insurance policies purchased through the ACA include coverage for addiction related issues including:

Contact your healthcare provider or local Medicaid administration for information on applying for services in your area.

Helping people quit addictions saves money and makes communities stronger and safer.  If paying for rehab services is beyond your means, government funding and nonprofit agencies can cover the cost – and put recovery within the reach of just about everyone.

Are you struggling with addiction – but don’t know where to turn? We’re here to help. Contact us at 800-681-7369 for the answers you need right now.