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Aetna for Alcohol Rehab

Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 9/25/2023

Alcoholism is a pervasive challenge that affects countless lives. Those seeking recovery often turn to their health insurance providers for support and coverage, navigating the sometimes daunting process of understanding their benefits. Aetna, one of the nation’s leading health insurance providers, is at the forefront of this conversation. Through its expansive network and comprehensive plans, Aetna provides coverage for a myriad of treatments tailored to combat alcoholism. This article delves into Aetna’s approach to alcoholism treatment, highlighting the types of treatments covered, the extent of coverage, and how members can leverage their Aetna plan to embark on a journey of recovery. 

Whether you’re an Aetna member, a concerned loved one, or a healthcare professional, this guide aims to clarify and illuminate Aetna’s commitment to supporting those in their fight against alcohol addiction.

What Is Aetna for Alcohol Rehab?

Aetna, a prominent national health insurance company, plays a crucial role in assisting individuals on their recovery journey from alcohol addiction. Recognizing the complex and multifaceted nature of alcoholism, Aetna offers coverage tailored to address the various needs and stages of alcohol rehab. Their commitment to comprehensive care means they go beyond just covering inpatient or outpatient treatment; they encompass a range of therapies, treatments, and aftercare services.

Alcohol rehab often includes detoxification, counseling, therapy, medications, and aftercare. Aetna’s approach is designed to support members throughout each of these stages. They collaborate closely with a vast network of licensed facilities, therapists, and medical professionals to ensure that members receive evidence-based, quality care. Additionally, Aetna’s member resources, including their online portal and customer service lines, provide critical information and support, guiding members in understanding their benefits, finding providers, and accessing treatments.

Ultimately, Aetna for alcohol rehab is not just about insurance coverage; it’s about a holistic approach to recovery, ensuring that members receive both the medical and emotional support necessary to overcome addiction and reclaim their lives.

How Much Alcohol Rehab Does Aetna Cover?

Aetna’s coverage for alcohol rehab can vary depending on the specific insurance plan, but they typically cover a substantial portion of the treatment, adhering to the mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that classify substance use disorder treatments as essential health benefits.

What Types of Alcohol Rehab Does Aetna Cover?

Aetna is known for being inclusive when it comes to alcohol rehab. As long as you can prove that you need rehab, you shouldn’t have any issues getting the appropriate coverage. Learn about the types of alcoholism treatment that Aetna covers below.

Does Aetna Cover Inpatient Alcohol Rehab? 

Inpatient alcohol rehab, often referred to as residential treatment, is an intensive level of care where individuals reside at a treatment facility while receiving round-the-clock medical and therapeutic support. It’s particularly suited for those with severe alcohol use disorders, co-occurring mental health conditions, or a history of chronic relapses. This environment provides a structured setting, free from outside triggers, where individuals can focus entirely on their recovery.

Aetna generally provides coverage for inpatient alcohol rehab when it’s deemed medically necessary. This decision is based on an assessment of the individual’s current health status, the severity of their alcohol use disorder, and any other underlying medical or psychiatric conditions.

The extent and duration of the coverage can vary based on the specifics of the individual’s insurance plan. It’s also influenced by the recommendations of the admitting clinicians and the ongoing assessments of progress during the treatment.

Aetna’s network of approved providers and facilities plays a significant role in coverage details. Typically, attending an in-network facility would result in lower out-of-pocket expenses compared to seeking treatment at an out-of-network institution.

It’s crucial to note that while Aetna often covers a portion or even the entirety of inpatient rehab costs, there may still be associated expenses such as deductibles, co-pays, or other fees. The specifics of these charges will depend on the individual’s insurance plan.

To ensure a smooth admission process and to understand the specifics of the coverage, individuals or their families should ideally pre-authorize the treatment with Aetna before admission. This step confirms the coverage details and helps in understanding any financial obligations upfront.

Does Aetna Cover Outpatient Alcohol Rehab? 

Aetna typically provides coverage for outpatient alcohol rehab under its behavioral health benefits. Outpatient rehab is often seen as an effective approach for individuals who require ongoing support but don’t need the intensive structure of inpatient care. This allows individuals to continue their daily routines while getting the necessary treatment.

The specifics of coverage depend on the individual’s policy. For instance, some policies might cover a certain number of outpatient therapy sessions per year, while others might focus on the overall costs. Pre-authorization may be required, which means the treatment provider or the patient must get approval from Aetna before starting the therapy or program.

It’s also essential to note the distinction between in-network and out-of-network providers. Treatment sought at in-network providers typically comes at a lower out-of-pocket cost to the policyholder compared to out-of-network services. However, Aetna’s PPO plans generally offer more flexibility in this regard, allowing members to choose providers outside of Aetna’s network, albeit usually at a higher personal cost.

Does Aetna Cover Intensive Outpatient Alcohol Rehab? 

Aetna recognizes the value of intensive outpatient programs (IOP) as a vital component in the spectrum of care for alcoholism and other substance use disorders. Intensive outpatient treatment bridges the gap between traditional outpatient services and inpatient care, allowing individuals to receive a higher level of care without the commitment of residential treatment.

Under many of Aetna’s insurance plans, coverage is provided for intensive outpatient alcohol rehab. The IOP structure typically involves attending treatment sessions several days a week for multiple hours a day, offering therapy, group counseling, and other therapeutic modalities while still allowing participants to live at home and maintain certain everyday activities.

However, the specifics of coverage, such as the duration of the program, the frequency of sessions, and associated costs, can vary depending on the individual’s policy with Aetna. Some policies may have set limits on the number of days or sessions covered, while others might define coverage based on the overall cost. Additionally, obtaining pre-authorization might be necessary, where either the provider or the patient seeks approval from Aetna before initiating the program.

As always, the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers plays a significant role in out-of-pocket expenses. Choosing an in-network IOP provider is generally more cost-effective for the policyholder, but the flexibility of provider choice may differ based on the specific Aetna plan.

Does Aetna Cover Partial Hospitalization Alcohol Rehab? 

Aetna typically covers partial hospitalization for alcohol rehab in many of its insurance plans. However, the specifics of coverage can differ based on the policy in question. Some key considerations include whether the program is deemed medically necessary, the duration of the PHP, and any associated costs.

Pre-authorization might be required before beginning a PHP, ensuring that both Aetna and the healthcare provider agree on the necessity and duration of the treatment. This step is essential to guarantee that the services will be covered and to what extent.

The choice between in-network and out-of-network providers is another pivotal consideration. Aetna’s in-network providers often come with lower out-of-pocket expenses for the policyholder. Conversely, out-of-network services, while still potentially covered, could result in higher personal costs.

For a clear understanding of how Aetna covers partial hospitalization for alcohol rehab, individuals should reference their specific policy documents or reach out to Aetna’s customer service. They can provide in-depth information relevant to the individual’s insurance plan and associated benefits.

Does Aetna Cover Alcohol Detox? 

Aetna recognizes that the detoxification process is a crucial first step for many individuals on their journey to recovery from alcoholism. Detox ensures the safe elimination of alcohol from the body, often requiring medical supervision due to potential withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening.

Alcohol detox typically occurs in a controlled and supervised setting where medical professionals monitor the individual’s physical and mental well-being. Depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s health, the detox process may require medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications.

Most Aetna insurance plans provide coverage for alcohol detox, understanding its medical necessity in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. The coverage’s specifics, however, can differ based on the individual policy. Elements such as the duration of the detox program, the type of facility (inpatient vs. outpatient), and the need for associated medical treatments or medications might influence the extent of coverage.

Choosing a provider within Aetna’s network is typically the most cost-effective option for policyholders. In-network detox programs generally come with lower out-of-pocket costs compared to out-of-network providers. However, depending on the Aetna plan, out-of-network detox services might still be covered, albeit at potentially higher personal costs.

Does Aetna Cover Aftercare for Alcoholism? 

Aftercare for alcohol rehab often includes ongoing therapy sessions, support groups, counseling, educational programs, and sometimes even continued medication management. These services are designed to reinforce the skills and coping mechanisms learned during primary treatment, ensuring individuals have the tools and support they need to face the challenges of a life without alcohol.

Many Aetna insurance plans provide coverage for aftercare services related to alcohol rehab. The specifics of this coverage can vary based on the details of the individual policy. For instance, there might be limits on the number of therapy sessions covered in a given year, or there might be stipulations regarding attending in-network versus out-of-network providers.

As with other levels of care, pre-authorization might be necessary for some aftercare services. This involves obtaining Aetna’s approval before initiating certain treatments or therapies, ensuring alignment between the insurer and the healthcare provider about the services’ necessity.

Does Aetna Cover Medications for Alcoholism?

In general, Aetna provides coverage for FDA-approved medications used in the treatment of alcohol use disorders under its prescription drug plans. However, as with all insurance matters, there are specifics to consider:

  • Coverage Variation: The exact medications covered, as well as the extent of coverage, can differ based on the individual’s Aetna insurance plan.
  • Formulary Lists: Aetna, like many insurers, maintains a formulary, which is a list of covered medications. Where a specific drug falls on this list—whether it’s a preferred, non-preferred, or specialty drug—can influence out-of-pocket costs.
  • Prior Authorization: Some medications may require prior authorization. This means that before the insurance will cover the drug, specific criteria must be met, and the need for the medication must be justified by the prescribing physician.
  • Generic vs. Brand Name: Often, insurance plans, including Aetna’s, will have different coverage levels for generic versus brand-name drugs. Generic drugs typically come at a lower out-of-pocket cost to the policyholder.
  • Associated Therapies: Some medications for alcoholism are most effective when combined with counseling or therapy. In such cases, Aetna may cover both the medication and the associated therapy, but details will vary by plan.

Medications like Disulfiram (Antabuse), Naltrexone, and Acamprosate (Campral) are commonly prescribed for alcohol use disorders, helping to deter drinking, reduce cravings, or restore chemical balance in the brain. Coverage for these medications under Aetna will depend on factors like the plan’s formulary, dosage, duration of treatment, and whether a generic version is available.

What Are the Types of Aetna Insurance Plans for Alcoholism?

Aetna recognizes the critical nature of treating substance use disorders, including alcoholism, and offers coverage for this under its various health insurance plans. Learn more about each of its plans for alcoholism rehab below.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans 

Under most HMO plans, Aetna covers in-network alcoholism treatment programs, which could include detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment, and counseling. A referral from a primary care physician might be required to see specialists or to enter specialized treatment programs.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans Members with a PPO plan generally have

Members with a PPO plan generally have more flexibility in choosing their treatment provider, whether in-network or out-of-network. While in-network providers might be covered at a higher rate, out-of-network treatment options can still be accessed, though they might come with higher out-of-pocket costs. 

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Plans 

EPO plans are similar to PPO plans in that they offer flexibility in choosing providers without the need for referrals. However, they typically don’t cover any costs associated with out-of-network providers unless it’s an emergency.

Point of Service (POS) Plans 

A blend of PPO and HMO, POS plans may require referrals like HMOs but offer some flexibility in choosing providers, like PPOs. Costs may vary based on whether treatment is sought in-network or out-of-network.

High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA)

These plans have higher deductibles, but members can use their HSA to pay for qualified medical expenses, including alcoholism treatments. 

Medicare and Medicaid Plans

The coverage for alcoholism treatments under these plans depends on state-specific Medicaid guidelines and the specifics of Aetna’s Medicare Advantage plans.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

 Some employers who offer Aetna insurance may also provide an EAP. EAPs are designed to help employees with personal and work-related issues. They may offer short-term counseling and referral services for issues like alcoholism, free of charge to the employee.

Managed Choice Plans 

These plans give members the benefits of an HMO with the flexibility of a PPO. They might include benefits for alcoholism treatment, but members may need to get services from an in-network provider for the highest level of coverage.

Behavioral Health Coverage 

Aetna emphasizes the importance of mental and behavioral health. As a result, many of their plans provide coverage for behavioral health services, which often includes treatments for substance use disorders like alcoholism. This coverage can encompass therapy, counseling, inpatient and outpatient treatments, and other related services

Therapies that Aetna Covers for Alcoholism

Aetna is a well-rounded insurance provider and offers coverage for most types of therapy for alcoholism within its behavioral health provisions. Learn more about the types of therapy that Aetna covers below.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-established and evidence-based form of psychotherapy that addresses maladaptive thinking patterns and behaviors. It’s frequently utilized in treating a wide range of disorders, including anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders like alcoholism. For individuals with alcohol use disorders, CBT focuses on identifying triggers for drinking, developing coping strategies, and learning how to deal with cravings or relapse triggers constructively.

Given the effectiveness and widespread acceptance of CBT in the treatment realm, many insurance providers, including Aetna, often cover CBT sessions for alcoholism as part of their behavioral health benefits.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) 

Originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT has been adapted and found effective for treating various conditions, including substance use disorders like alcoholism. For those struggling with alcoholism, DBT provides skills in areas like emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness to help avoid triggers and manage cravings.

Aetna, in understanding the therapeutic value of DBT for alcoholism, typically covers this form of therapy when used in the context of treating alcohol use disorders or co-occurring mental health conditions. Coverage for DBT under Aetna may vary based on factors such as the individual’s specific policy, the setting in which the therapy takes place (like outpatient vs. inpatient), and the frequency of sessions.

Motivational Interviewing for Alcoholism (MI) 

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a client-centered counseling approach designed to enhance an individual’s motivation to change by resolving ambivalence. Developed initially for dealing with substance use disorders, MI has expanded its application across various areas of behavior change. In the context of alcoholism, MI can help individuals recognize the negative impact of their drinking habits and find their intrinsic motivation to pursue sobriety.

Aetna recognizes the value of various therapeutic approaches in treating alcoholism and its related issues. Motivational Interviewing, with its strong evidence base and effectiveness in facilitating commitment to change, is typically covered under many of Aetna’s insurance plans when prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy.

Does Aetna Cover Holistic Alcohol Rehab?

Holistic alcohol rehab is where things get a bit tricky. Insurance companies don’t like to cover rehab that doesn’t have evidence-based results or long-term success. Therefore, many holistic approaches to alcoholism treatment are not covered. Still, there are a few types of treatment that might be covered. Learn more about them below.

Does Aetna Cover Acupuncture for Alcoholism? 

Acupuncture, a practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, involves inserting thin needles at specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow (known as “qi” or “chi”) and promote healing. While most commonly associated with pain relief, acupuncture has been explored as a complementary therapy for various conditions, including substance use disorders like alcoholism. Some believe that acupuncture can help reduce cravings, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and balance the body’s energy to support recovery.

Aetna generally approaches acupuncture with a degree of caution, covering it primarily when there’s evidence of its efficacy for specific conditions. Within the context of alcohol rehab, acupuncture might be considered a complementary or alternative therapy.

While some Aetna plans might offer coverage for acupuncture as part of a broader commitment to holistic health, the specifics of such coverage can vary widely. Factors influencing coverage might include the practitioner’s qualifications (whether they’re a licensed acupuncturist), the setting in which the acupuncture takes place, and the overall treatment plan’s design.

Does Aetna Cover Equine Therapy for Alcoholism? 

Equine therapy, also known as equine-assisted therapy or horse therapy, is a therapeutic approach that involves interactions between patients and horses. This unique modality has been used to treat various conditions, including trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, including alcoholism. Through activities like grooming, feeding, haltering, and leading a horse, participants can develop awareness of their emotions, behaviors, and patterns, fostering insights that can be applied to other areas of their lives.

Aetna, as with many modern insurance providers, often evaluates alternative and holistic therapeutic approaches based on their efficacy and the benefits they offer to patients. While traditional therapy methods like cognitive behavioral therapy are typically covered, more alternative approaches like equine therapy for alcoholism might be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In the case of alcoholism treatment, if a licensed professional prescribes equine therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan and can demonstrate its therapeutic value for the patient, there’s a possibility it may be covered by Aetna.

How Much Does Aetna for Alcohol Rehab Cost?

Navigating the cost of alcohol rehab with Aetna requires an understanding of several influencing factors. Aetna, like many insurance providers, offers a range of plans, each with its unique cost structures and coverage levels.

Plan Type 

The specific Aetna insurance plan a person has can significantly affect costs. Different plans come with varying premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums. For instance, someone with a high-deductible plan might pay more out-of-pocket initially compared to someone with a lower deductible.


Aetna’s coverage and costs can vary by state and region due to differences in healthcare regulations and the availability of treatment facilities.

Treatment Type 

Whether a member requires inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, or another type of care can significantly influence cost. Generally, inpatient treatment tends to be more expensive than outpatient care.

Duration of Treatment 

Naturally, a longer stay in an inpatient facility or extended outpatient therapy sessions will affect the overall cost.

Additional Services 

If a member requires specialized services, medications, or therapies beyond standard alcohol rehab treatments, it can lead to additional costs.

Network Considerations

Aetna often has preferred providers or in-network facilities. Using these can result in lower out-of-pocket expenses compared to seeking treatment from out-of-network providers. 

What Are the Other Insurance Options for Alcohol Rehab?

Plenty of insurance providers offer alcoholism treatment. We list some of the alternative options below.

These are only a few of the options for insurance. Always check your state to learn about more options.

Get Treatment for Alcoholism Today!

If you or a loved one is battling alcoholism, don’t let uncertainty about insurance hold you back from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to’s helpline today. 

Our compassionate team is here to guide you through understanding your insurance options, ensuring you have the support and resources you need to start your journey to recovery. Your path to a healthier, alcohol-free life is just a call away. Connect with us now. Your future self will thank you.