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What Is the Cost of Drug and Alcohol Rehab?


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 2/07/2022

The cost of drug and alcohol rehab can cost as little as zero dollars and as much as thousands of dollars. Depending on the treatment methods you choose and the insurance you have, the price varies greatly. Typically, inpatient treatment facilities are more expensive than outpatient treatment centers because of the length of treatment and amenities.

What are the Types of Addiction Treatment and Their Costs?

Many treatment types vary from luxurious residential resorts to sober living homes for people without the means to stay in premium facilities. The types of treatment methods are listed below.

  • Inpatient rehab
  • Medications
  • Outpatient rehab
  • Detox

1. Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab centers are designed to help people recover in isolation and with 24/7 supervision. People enrolled in inpatient rehab programs live at the rehabilitation facility where they’re monitored by doctors, mental health professionals, and other staff members. Depending on the facility, some inpatient rehab centers have recreational facilities, pools, games, private bedrooms, and even private bathrooms.

The number of amenities and the size of a rehab facility dictates the cost of inpatient rehab. Rehab centers on the lower end can cost as little as $6,000 for 30 days. That said, rehab centers with lots of amenities can cost upwards of $60,000 in states like California. Still, the average cost for inpatient rehab is somewhere between $6,000 and $60,000. Most rehab centers fall in the middle when it comes to amenities, size, and staff, so the average cost of inpatient rehab is about $10,000 for 30 days. Longer programs can cost upwards of $20,000 on average.

2. Medications

Medications are a common treatment method for alcohol abuse and opioid addiction. Because alcohol and opioids make changes to brain chemistry, medications are used to combat harsh symptoms of withdrawal. Some common medications are methadone for opioids and disulfiram for alcohol. While opioid treatments can be as long as one year and cost over $4,000 per year, medication for alcoholism is more affordable.

It’s also important to note that the insurance you have and the type of medications you use factor into the cost. Someone with mild alcoholism might not need medication at all, or only a month’s supply. On the other hand, more serious cases of alcoholism can result in seizures during the withdrawal period. This condition requires expensive medication that can cost as much as $1,000 over the treatment period.

3. Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is for mild and less severe cases of addiction. These programs can be used after inpatient rehab as aftercare or used as an alternative to inpatient treatment. Common outpatient rehab treatments include 3-month programs that use behavioral therapy to help someone overcome addiction. Outpatient rehab centers can also prescribe medications and some programs can help patients detox.

The cost of outpatient rehab depends on the length of the program if medications are supplied, and how often a patient visits the clinic. An average outpatient program requires patients to visit the clinic at least 3 times per week for a period of 3 to 6 months. For a typical treatment plan like this one, the average cost of outpatient care is about $4,500. That said, outpatient treatment can reach prices up to $10,000 if medications need to be used for long periods.

4. Detox

Outpatient detox programs help patients overcome addiction by monitoring withdrawal symptoms and providing medications when needed. Some detox programs also provide beds for patients to recover from during the first few phases of withdrawal. The cost of detox varies depending on the type of addiction a person has. While some drugs cause mild withdrawal symptoms, alcohol and opioids have dangerous withdrawal periods that can lead to death.

When it comes to the cost, inpatient rehab centers factor in the cost of detox. This means that detox is included during inpatient programs. On the other hand, outpatient programs typically charge about $1,000 to $2,000 for the detox process. If a patient needs to detox over a longer period higher prices are to be expected.

What are the Factors that Determine the Cost of Rehab?

Several factors determine the cost of rehab. Factors that determine the cost of rehab have to do with the quality of care, what medications are used, the location of rehab facilities, and more. The most common factors are listed below.

  • Treatment types
  • Type of center
  • Amenities

1. Treatment Types

Treatment types influence the cost of treatment because different methods require different intensities of care. A treatment method that only requires patients to visit a clinic a few times per week costs less than a program that requires a patient to live at the rehabilitation facility. This also applies to medications. If patients need medications, the cost of care increases. While some rehab programs (like inpatient centers) include this in the cost of care, other treatment programs can increase in price when more treatments are needed. An example of this would be an outpatient center offering detox to someone suffering from alcoholism. Doing so raises the overall cost of the program.

2. Type of Center

The type of center also plays a big role in the price of alcoholism treatment. Inpatient rehabilitation centers cost more than outpatient rehabilitation centers because patients need to live there. Therefore, inpatient rehab centers factor in the cost of living, amenities, medications, detox, and more. Inpatient rehab centers are also more expensive depending on which state they’re in. For example, a rehab center in California will cost more than one located in North Carolina.

3. Amenities

Amenities are another important factor because they’re not free. That said, most patients won’t need to worry about amenities unless they’re participating in inpatient rehabilitation programs. Inpatient rehabilitation centers provide patients with amenities to make their stay more comfortable. Some common amenities include massages, swimming pools, tennis courts, chefs, and other recreational activities. The more luxurious amenities a treatment center has, the more expensive it will be.

How Can You Pay for Rehab?

Addiction rehab can be paid for by insurance, cash, credit, and even financing. The payment method depends on what works best for the patient. That said, insurance is one of the most common ways to pay for rehab. People without insurance can typically opt for government assistance or finance treatment.

Does Insurance Pay Your Rehab?

Yes, depending on your insurance provider insurance covers some rehab programs. While insurance covers some rehab programs, it doesn’t cover all of them. Moreover, inpatient rehabilitation is more challenging to have insurance coverage for because of its hefty price tag. On the other hand, insurance providers are more likely to cover outpatient and detox programs. In some cases, insurance companies might also cover medications like methadone or disulfiram.

What are the Types of Insurance for Rehab?

Many insurance providers cover rehab. That said, there are distinctions between insurance providers that people need to be aware of before searching for rehab programs. These insurance types can be categorized as follows:

  • Medicare
  • State-financed health insurance
  • Medicaid
  • Private Insurance
  • Military Insurance

1). Medicare

Medicare is insurance that’s funded by the government and government programs. The Medicare system is part of the Social Security program that began in 1965. For this reason, many people who are over the age of 65 use Medicare for health issues. That said, Medicare can cover addiction treatment in some cases. It depends on how much coverage an older person has and the type of treatment center they’re willing to stay at or participate in. Medicare may or may not cover the full cost of addiction treatment.

2). State Financed Health Insurance

State-financed health insurance is similar to Medicaid but different because it’s funded by state taxes and programs. These insurance plans are typically used by people who are otherwise unable to afford health insurance. In this way, state-financed health insurance is similar to Medicaid. For example, Medi-Cal is California’s state-financed health insurance plan. State-financed health insurance may or may not cover addiction treatment unless it’s at a low-cost location. This insurance type is more likely to cover outpatient treatment than inpatient treatment.

3). Medicaid

Medicaid is insurance that’s provided by the federal government for people who otherwise can’t afford health insurance. People who qualify for Medicaid can use it for addiction treatment programs that accept it. That said, Medicaid chooses the most affordable option for the patient, which limits individual preferences and choices. Medicaid might also fail to cover all aspects of a rehab plan, so patients may need to cover some costs out of pocket.

4). Private Insurance

Private insurance is one of the best ways to pay for addiction treatment if the insurance plan covers addiction. Not all plans cover addiction treatment, so it’s important to look at the type of insurance plan you have and who the provider is. Private insurance plans can also cover the whole treatment but there are some cases where patients need to pay a deductible. Private insurance isn’t always accepted; it depends on what the rehab center is willing to take.

5). Military Insurance

Military insurance is reserved for military veterans and members of the military. With military insurance, addiction treatment options are limited but the insurance provider is more likely to cover the full cost when someone enrolls in rehab. For this reason, military insurance is both a great option and a bad option. It’s also more affordable than private insurance while providing similar levels of coverage.

What is the Cost of Addiction Compared to Alcohol Rehab?

The cost of addiction over the long term is more expensive than the short-term cost of alcohol rehab. To provide perspective, someone who drinks alcohol at a bar five days per week will spend about $100-200 per week on alcoholic beverages. Over the course of a year, an alcohol addiction of this nature costs someone between $5,000 and $10,000. When these numbers are added over several years or decades, people can end up spending up to $100,000 on alcohol addiction.

That said, many people avoid treatment because it’s perceived as expensive. While inpatient care can cost around $10,000, that’s much less than the cost of consuming alcohol over a lifetime. Moreover, outpatient and detox programs cost less than $5,000 on average. That’s also lower than the cost of long-term addiction.

How Much Money Does the Government Spend on Rehab?

The government spent over $40 billion on addiction treatment and rehabilitation in 2021 (enacted). In the United States, the amount of money spent on alcohol addiction and addiction treatment continues to rise. Previous years spent less than $40 billion addiction and rehab but the extra funding is a necessary improvement. It’s important for the government to provide funding for those who need it. When there are more options for people who can’t afford treatment, the long-term damage of alcoholism and addiction can be reduced.