How much does addiction counseling cost?

Addiction counseling is an effective method for overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction. Ranging from almost free to $150 or more per hour, counseling can be expensive. Learn more about addiction counseling costs and how you can afford counseling here.

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Is addiction counseling expensive?

Yes, addiction counseling can be expensive. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Many addiction treatment facilities will not turn away addicted individuals based on their inability to pay. Additionally, when you attend an addiction treatment program, the cost of counseling is often included in the total cost of the program. Plus, there are a number of resources that you can use to help reduce addiction counseling costs. These include:

  • Community based addiction treatment programs
  • Financial aid and assistance, sliding scale payment fees
  • Government agencies, State Department of Health or federal vouchers
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Medical insurance coverage

Addiction counseling: How much does it cost?

Private addiction counseling can cost $100-150 or more per hour, with health insurance paying some or all of the cost. However, addiction counseling costs vary greatly. Your cost for addiction counseling will usually depend on a number of different factors, including the type of facility that you choose and how long you receive these services.

One study estimated that the average cost of inpatient addiction counseling was around $789 per week, but could run as high as $1,000 or more per week. Outpatient addiction counseling is typically more affordable for most people, and the estimated average weekly cost for this type of counseling was around $140 per week.

Is addiction counseling tax deductible?

Addiction counseling is not specifically mentioned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as being tax deductible, but it does fall under the broad category of “medical expenses”. According to the United States tax code, part of the cost of addiction counseling is tax deductible. In 2013, for instance, taxpayers whose medical expenses were higher than 10% of their Adjusted Gross Income could deduct the difference of these costs.

Is addiction counseling covered by insurance?


Most private health insurance companies will cover at least part of the cost of mental health services, including addiction counseling. They must also do so in a manner that is no more expensive than other health problems.

The best way to find out if your medical insurance will cover addiction treatment is to contact your insurance company directly and ask is addiction counseling is covered in your insurance policy. You may also want to contact different facilities offering addiction counseling to verify that they do accept your insurance.

Will Medicare pay for addiction counseling?

Usually, Medicare covers the expenses for drug or alcohol treatment, and this should include counseling. The cost of addiction counseling may be covered by Medicare, but you need to meet certain criteria before receiving Medicare. Inpatient mental health services are usually partially covered, although you may be required to pay a deductible. Contact Medicare directly, at 1-800-MEDICARE, to find out more about the possibility of your addiction counseling being covered.

Is addiction counseling free?

Addiction counseling is rarely free; someone is always responsible for paying the salary of an addiction counselor. Addiction counselors make, on average, less than $20 per hour. But in addition to this cost are the operational costs associated with providing care. Some non-profit groups, however, do offer free addiction counseling services to anyone that needs it. Self-help and support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are also excellent sources of free addiction counseling.

Low cost addiction counseling is usually much easier to find, though, and sometimes more effective. Your state’s federally funded substance abuse referral program can usually help you find low cost ofrfree addiction counseling in your area. This can be a long and difficult process, though, which requires a great deal of paperwork, but it’s important to keep trying. It may seem like a hassle now, but you’ll never know if you qualify for free addiction counseling if you don’t pick up the phone.

Sliding scale addiction counseling

Many addiction treatment facilities offer sliding scale addiction counseling. This means that the amount you pay for counseling is based on your income. In the end, you’ll only be required to pay what you can reasonably afford to. You can use a number of resources to find sliding scale addiction counseling, such as:

  • County assistance offices
  • Hospitals and mental health professionals
  • Local or regional substance abuse referral programs
  • State Department of Health and Human Services offices
  • The National Drug Abuse Hotline (1-800-662-HELP)

Addiction counseling financial aid and assistance

There’s a chance that you might qualify for addiction counseling financial aid and assistance, particularly if you have low income. To find out if you qualify for addiction counseling financial aid or assistance, you can contact local addiction counseling providers and ask if they may be able to help.

The Directory of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services found on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website will provide you with your state’s mental health and substance abuse office. Contacting your state’s representative is another great way to find addiction counseling financial aid and assistance.

Addiction counseling cost questions

Do you still have questions about the cost of addiction counseling or how to finance it? Please ask us your questions in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to respond to your questions personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NET Quote: Will my health insurance pay for substance abuse treatment?
NCBI: The Economic Costs of Substance Abuse Treatment: Updated Estimates and Cost Bands for Program Assessment and Reimbursement
SAMHSA: Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
IRS: Topic 502 – Medical and Dental Expenses
Medicare: Mental health care (inpatient)
SAMHSA: Health Reform
SAMHSA: Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services
SAMHSA: The ADSS Cost Study: Costs of Substance Abuse Treatment in the Specialty Sector
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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