How to pay for addiction treatment?

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Three option to pay for addiction treatments are paying for the treatment with your own money, private insurance claim or through a charity or the NHS.  - Self-pay is the costlier option as it involves using funds from your own pocket. You can pay for the rehab cost using your credit card, a personal loan or you can borrow funds from friends and family.  

So the three options to pay for addiction treatment are:

  • Self-pay  
  • Use private insurance  
  • Use the national health insurance (NHS).  

Alternatively, you can inquire from your insurance provider whether they cover treatment.  

Some of the U.K's leading private insurance providers cover for addiction treatment needs.  

how to pay for addiction treatment

There are free options for addiction treatment.  

NHS and charity-run clinics offer free treatment. However, such facilities have long waiting lists because their services are underfunded and overly-subscribed.  

Those in urgent need of fast treatment will have to wait a bit longer.  

Outpatient rehab services for addiction are relatively cheaper than inpatient services. The cost, however, varies depending on location and the type of facility.  

Generally, the average cost for private treatment in an outpatient treatment rehab facility is almost 10% the cost of the residential inpatient [1].  

With outpatient rehab, you regularly attend counselling and therapy. But you do not stay in the treatment center and you get to carry on with your life.  

Outpatient programs are easy to access if you have no insurance or income. There are local rehab centres that will require you to prove that you lack income and are in need of treatment.  

If you cannot afford to pay for outpatient rehab, you can apply for the treatment programme through a mental health agency or a substance abuse agency.  

Inpatient rehab is costlier due to the price of housing and intensive care.  

The cost of rehab varies depending on whether you choose an executive room, a private room or a shared space.  

When you choose inpatient rehab, costs include your: 

  • Full personalized treatment programme.  
  • Full board (accommodation and meals) 
  • Use of facilities e.g. fitness and other complementary services.  

Costs also vary depending on the treatment required. Cocaine drug use, for instance, doesn't have dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, users do not need technical detox.  

Alcohol and heroin patients on the other hand experience intense withdrawals during detox and need medical treatment. This factor will influence the amount you pay.  

Costs for addiction treatment services are estimated as follows:  

  • Detox: Outpatient detox costs about £2,000. It lasts about 7 to 10 days and includes accommodation plus medication. If you're low on funds you can choose to detox first and pursue rehab later.  

  • Inpatient rehab: Addiction rehab centers charge about £1,500 per week. A typical 28 day program will cost around £4,000 to £6,000 for the whole rehabilitation treatment. The actual fees depends on the facility you choose.  

  • Outpatient rehab: Totals around £1,000 a week at the most depending on the specific treatment and medications you use.  

  • Aftercare: Costs vary drastically because some inpatient treatment centers include aftercare in their overall package. You can expect to pay about £1,000 a week. 

Luxury can affect the cost of the treatment provider of the treatment programme.  

Basic ones will amenities will likely cost you £1,500 per week.  

Alternatively, a luxury treatment facility can cost as high as £10,000 a week.  

Luxury facilities provide the best options such as holistic therapies, good food, and top-quality amenities.  

Many people find the cost of drug abuse treatment to be expensive. But you need to consider the cost of drug abuse and the drug addiction in your life.  

In 2020, consumer spending on alcohol reached 20 billion pounds [2].  

The average U.K household spends £916 on alcohol annually [3].  

Whether you're abusing alcohol or illegal drugs. It's likely you're spending huge amounts weekly.  

Drug and alcohol addiction are progressive illnesses. It's likely that you're spending huge amounts weekly to fuel your substance abuse.

The impact of these chemicals on your brain leads to tolerance. That means your brain gets adjusted to them and you feel good.  

Overtime, you develop less satisfaction from using the drugs or the alcohol. The only way to increase your satisfaction is to drink more.  

Substance abuse treatment is a better alternative as you get professional treatment.  

Residential rehab, for instance, lets you stay overnight in a treatment facility which helps you keep off the drugs. You can pay for residential rehab.

Aside from inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, there are treatment options that you can pay for.

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They include: 

Online rehabs: 

This programme is designed to mirror outpatient services. The cost varies because there are diverse addiction treatment options available.  

Some centres provide a structured programme whereas others just require you to spend a few hours in an in-zoom meeting.  

In general, you pay for rehab more than £1,000 for a programme duration of 6 to 10 weeks.  

The payment options are similar for online rehabs as visiting a physical rehab center.  

Individual counselling: 

Costs vary widely as counsellors tend to charge by the hour or session. In London, the fee for counselling can range from £120 to £180 per hour.  

Some may charge less or more. Face-to-face rehab options can cost about £3,000 for 6 weeks. 

Partial hospitalization programmes (PHPs) are also available.  

This is an intensive level of outpatient care for people with substance use disorders.  

The programme works as an ideal setting for the treatment for people with substance use disorder and mental health issues.  

PHPs can provide at least 20 hours of treatment per week. Many of these programmes treat people with co-occurring disorders.  

The cost of treatment depends on a number of factors such as your insurance coverage, length of stay, location, and additional amenities.  

Does insurance cover alcohol rehab?  

does insurance pay for alcohol rehab

Insurance does cover alcohol rehab. If you cannot afford private treatment, you can reach out to your private medical insurance provider for financing options.  

Many rehab centers accept private health insurance from some of the U.K's leading insurance companies. They include: 

  • Bupa  
  • Coventry  
  • Allianz Care  
  • GeoBlue  
  • IC&RC 
  • Tricare  
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland  
  • Intertek 
  • Cigna  
  • Tricare  
  • Axa Healthcare  
  • JSIS (Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme of the European Union)  

Admission through a private health insurance is quick and can happen within 48 hours.

All you need to do is: 

1.Contact the admissions department of your preferred facility.  

2.Find out if your health insurance plan covers residential treatment.  

3.Request a referral letter to the facility from your GP and send the facility your insurance number.  

4.The rehab center will liaise with your insurance provider and arrange for admission.  

The Bupa insurance cover, for instance, funds residential addiction treatment through UKAT. The procedure works as follows: 

  1. You will be assessed by a Bupa-recognized psychiatrist. The assessment will be submitted to Bupa and they'll make the decision as to whether you qualify.  

  1. Your individual policy and the terms of that policy will determine whether they'll fully cover you or partially pay for treatment services.  

The insurance coverage helps you pay for rehab on Bupa-recognized addiction centers. 

It's absolutely essential for you to check your policy documents to see if you're covered for residential rehab. You can find this under your general or employee health insurance policy.  

Next, send your insurance details and insurance policy number with written permission for the residential treatment centre to liaise with the insurance company on your behalf.  

Once the facility receives your entitlement under your policy of insurance, they will contact you to inform you what options you are entitled for. 

In the U.S., the affordable care act is a popular way for paying rehab treatment. ACA sponsors insurance plans on sale on an online platform called the Health Insurance Marketplace. 

These medical insurance plans provide coverage that's similar to private insurance.  

Moreover, the ACA expands funds and treatment options available to Americans via Medicare and Medicaid.  

In the U.K, prevention and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse have often been delivered separately from other mental health and general health care services [4].  

This is because traditionally, addiction issues have been viewed as a social or criminal problem and were not considered as a responsibility for health care services.  

The national institute for health services (NHS) does offer options for substance abuse rehab cost. Sadly, the options available are few due to limited resources.  

For the NHS route, you will need to see your GP. You will inform them about your drugs and dependence on alcohol and they will examine your condition.  

During your appointment, the GP will determine whether to prescribe medication to aid with detoxing and withdrawal.  

They will also refer you to the nearest group where you can receive treatment programs for free e.g. counselling, group therapy, or other outpatient programs.  

If you require serious treatment or funding for inpatient programs, you'll have to pay for a private treatment facility yourself. 

Does insurance cover alcohol rehab?

Health insurance usually covers alcohol rehab partially or in full based on the choice of treatment and specific needs of an inpatient. Addiction is considered a medical disease, and policies like the 2010 Affordable Care Act¹ make insurance cover on addiction treatments compulsory. 

Standard alcohol rehab treatment is costly and a significant barrier for most people looking for professional help. But living with addiction is certainly costlier. As you prepare to begin a rehab program, find out whether insurance does cover alcohol rehab at the inpatient centre of your choice.

Using financing to pay for alcohol rehab  

using financing to pay for alcohol rehab

There are various financing options that you can use to pay for your alcoholism rehab or drug problem.  

You can have family members help you cater for the cost of rehab.  

Many residential rehabilitation centres will allow families to have an easier way for making payment.  

e.g. They can offer payment options that allow families to spread payment over an extended time frame.  

The second option is insurance coverage and grants for rehab centers [5].

For instance, in the U.S. there is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants [6].  

In the U.K., people in need of drug rehab may be fortunate enough to gain alcohol or drug rehab funding from their local authority. In most cases, this is via a drug or alcohol team.  

Every county or local authority has its policies concerning funding rehab treatment. Some areas do not issue funding at all.  

Drug users can get a local drug or alcohol team to support them with funding for rehab. 

Alternatively, you can get funding from charity organizations. The Salvation Army, for instance, is known for offering affordable treatment options [7]. 

Other support groups that offer assistance for alcohol addiction include [8]: 

  • The Waterfall Trust 
  • Build On Belief LTD 
  • The Success Foundation  
  • The Alcohol and Drug Service  
  • Future Living Hertford 
  • Swanswell Charitable Fund  

You can pay an addiction treatment center using a personal loan or your own savings.

Reach out to a treatment provider or the UK rehab to discuss whether they have a treatment plan based on your budget.  

Most facilities offer payment plans depending on your situation. You can pay using major credit and debit cards like American Express, Visa, Master Card and Discover Network.  

Some employers can pay for a rehab center. Reach out to your human resource department to find out if they offer help.  

You can raise money for treatment programme with crowdfunding. There are free fundraising platforms like GoFundMe that you can use to raise funds [9].  

To Conclude: 

There are several ways that you can pay for residential rehab. Private insurance is the fastest and better option.

Still, if you cannot afford a private clinic, you can take advantage of the NHS options.  

The national institute does offer free therapy sessions that can help you with your drug addiction. Due to limited funding, it may be hard for you to get funding for inpatient treatment.  

Your first step towards discovering your options for the health problem is to seek confidential advice from your GP.

You can also reach out to the U.K rehab Centre to figure out the cost of rehab.  

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.