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How Much Does Alcohol or Drug Rehab Cost?

We don’t put a price on someone’s well-being, but unfortunately, insurance companies do; right, wrong or indifferent, it is what it is. The cost of drug rehab and treatment services should not prevent anyone from receiving needed care.

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Paying the Price

The Cost of Addiction

The costs of intervention and treating the addiction are far less than the cost of not treating it. If a family added up all of the emotional, psychological, social and financial costs of the addiction compared to the cost of intervention and treatment, there would be no question as to what to do.

The unspoken cost often ignored is the cost to society. The selfish behaviors of the addict or alcoholic affect people daily, causing various forms of harm. Then there are the family members who are greatly impacted and who now have a negative impact on others. The family selfishly puts their loved one’s addiction before everything and everybody, allowing a widening ripple effect to occur. It is amazing what happens once a family changes and their loved one leaves for treatment. Many people are no longer being impacted, most of whom you don’t even know.

What Is the Cost of anIntervention?

With addiction intervention and treatment, the cost is paid up front, and that can feel like a significant amount of money.

Most families take a different approach, spending money over time and not feeling the impact as much. By the time a family comes to us, they are defeated and don’t want to spend any more money because they think nothing else can work, given that previous attempts have failed.

By doing an intervention the right way and with the right people, the family is no longer throwing good money after bad.

The average cost of a professional intervention can range between $3,500 and $18,000, depending on who performs it and how they do it. The majority of interventions cost less than $6,000, not including nominal expenses.

Factoring in what you have spent on the addiction in the last year alone, it is most likely more than this.

Beyond the actual money you have given the loved one, your expenses include:

  • Free housing
  • Free utilities
  • Free food
  • Possible legal fees
  • Use of car or rides
  • Loss of pay for missed work
  • Possible child care
  • Various opportunities lost

This only factors in the financial piece but doesn’t include other forms of loss noted above.

Is a Drug Intervention Covered by Insurance?

The answer is no. Some intervention companies claim to have found a way to bill for insurance, but we have never seen it happen, nor have we had an insurance company reimburse for it. There is no billing code for an intervention, and insurance companies do not yet recognize it as a level of care.

Most addiction professionals feel that interventions should be an out-of-pocket expense in order to hold families accountable and to help them maintain boundaries. Families have much to do to achieve a successful outcome. If insurance covered intervention costs, the obligation to follow directions would be reduced, and fewer people would be successful.

This may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but it is true. Studies show that the more a family pays out of pocket to treat the addiction, the more inclined they are to make it work so they can avoid having to do it again. If insurance covered everything and there were no financial impact, the family would have no incentive to do it right the first time, especially knowing that insurance would pay for it again and again.

In regard to treatment, our hope is that your loved one’s care is covered by insurance as much as possible. The intervention is for the family, while the treatment is for the loved one. Because most addicts and alcoholics are unable to afford the cost of treatment themselves, we do everything possible to find a solution covered by insurance or with the least financial impact to the family while still securing admission into a program that delivers long-term, high-quality care.

Hidden Costs of Drug Rehab and Interventions

Before hiring an intervention counselor, the family should do its homework. Be cautious with treatment centers that tell you they are covered by insurance, or that the intervention is included in the fee; it isn’t.

Some intervention counselors have an appealing pitch on the front end with a lower cost, but then charge extra for everything else. Some even charge extra fees for the loved one agreeing to go to treatment, and then even more to transport him or her to the treatment center. Interventions should be a one-time, inclusive cost, with only travel expenses being an additional charge.

Some treatment centers say an intervention is included in the cost or through insurance, but that isn’t true either. You are told this only if you have strong insurance that covers the cost of treatment and if the facility charges a higher self-pay rate. Treatment centers that offer intervention counselors almost always send staff that is neither licensed nor insured.

Interventions are distinct from treatment centers coming to your home, telling you to deliver tough love and convincing your loved to choose their facility. Know what to look for in an intervention counselor by visiting our “What Are the Interventionist’s Credentials” page.

There is but one opportunity to get this right the first time. When done correctly and with the right people, interventions need only be done once.

How Much Does Drug Rehab Cost?

The average cost of treatment in the United States is approximately $22,000 per month, with many programs costing as much as $30,000 for a 30-day stay. Many different options are available, and many treatment centers are willing to offer a discounted self-pay rate in the absence of insurance or for those with minimal coverage.

There are also benefits in receiving treatment without using insurance. First, the loved one is not at the mercy of the insurance company, and treatment is not held back in terms of services offered and delivered. Second, by not using insurance, the treatment won’t necessarily have an impact on rates charged in the future. Although there is a no preexisting clause for insurance companies, it will not prevent them from charging more if the client is deemed to be high risk.

The intervention counselor or addiction consultant will do everything possible to find the best center that:

  • Has the most to offer therapeutically
  • Is available with as little out-of-pocket cost as possible
  • Avoids significant unexpected costs later

Does My Insurance Cover the Cost of Drug Rehab?

Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, insurance premiums have increased while what is covered has decreased. Never before has insurance paid less for substance abuse and mental health than what we see today.

Many people are under the impression they have great insurance, and for health care, they probably do. Upon verification of coverage for substance abuse, they may find a different story.

Some insurance companies still cover a significant portion of treatment (after satisfying the deductible), but many do not. Variables include the type of insurance, HMO vs. PPO vs. EPO and, for example, whether the plan is individualized or through a group or employer.

Once the family has decided to move forward with the intervention, we will verify your insurance and help you decide on a treatment center that meets your financial requirements. We always seek to base the treatment plan in therapeutic priorities. Unfortunately, in today’s insurance environment, that is increasingly difficult.

Why Don't I Just Call My Insurance Company Myself?

A person can most certainly do that. Keep in mind that the insurance company will provide you with the coverage outline and a referral for local treatment options with facilities that have agreed to contract at the lowest possible rate.

We are unaware of anyone who called the insurance company, connected with an assessment specialist and then was referred to a treatment facility based on what is best for the client. No insurance company can guarantee coverage for anything over the phone, not even health care claims.

Claims are approved or denied after the treatment center or health care provider submits the claims for payment. It is then up to the insurance company and the health care provider to determine what is or was medically necessary. How can you know for sure what will be covered and how much you will have to pay?

Treatment centers employ insurance billing companies that compile a database of claims year after year. When an insurance claim is processed for verification, these companies are able to review similar policies and claims to determine what has been paid and denied in the past. Treatment centers, in your favor, determine the out-of-pocket amount – on top of the deductible – that is needed to offset what the insurance company will not likely pay.

The good news for the person needing help is that, in many cases, the treatment center assumes the risk. Most treatment centers rely on that data. In the event your insurance company does not pay the estimated claims, you would not know and your loved one would still receive the care originally promised.

Given the stakes involved, it is important to allow your intervention counselor to help you with this and not rely on the insurance company alone. If a family chooses a treatment center that does not assume this risk, you will probably be asked to pay the balance not covered.

By allowing your professional to help, you can be confident that the facility chosen will not come back for any uncovered charges. Keep in mind that insurance companies do not make money approving claims. If you deal with only one insurance company, you will have experienced only one insurance company.

Two people in a treatment center at the same time with the same insurance from the same employer can result in one being fully covered while the other receives partial or no coverage at all. No insurance company will admit to or agree with this, but it happens every day.

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