How much does addiction treatment cost?

Outpatient addiction treatment can average around $6,800 for a 10 week program, while inpatient addiction treatment costs an average of around $19,000 for a 28 day stay. More on addiction treatment and cost savings here.

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Addiction treatment costs, on average, about $135 per day for outpatient treatment and more than $700 per day for inpatient treatment. There are several ways to reduce the cost of addiction treatment to make it affordable on any budget, however.

Mental health services and addiction treatment is often covered under many health insurance plans, for instance. Health insurance companies will usually cover at least part of the cost of these types of treatments. Plus, many addiction treatment facilities offer reduced costs to lower income individuals as well. Also consider entering treatment in a no-frills treatment facility to cut costs, as luxury addiction treatment facilities are typically very expensive.

Read on to learn more about how much addiction treatment costs. We’ll give you some ideas for how to reduce those costs. Then, we invite your questions about addiction treatment at the end.

Is addiction treatment expensive?

Yes, addiction treatment can be expensive. In fact, it can cost as much as a year of schooling in a private university. For many, addiction treatment costs may seem impossible to cover. In fact, many addicts do not seek treatment because they don’t believe they can afford it. Fortunately, addiction treatment may be more affordable than you think.

Addiction treatment: How much does it cost?

Several different variables contribute to the cost of addiction treatment. Factors include the type of facility that you use, the length of time you spend in the program, and the services that you’ll need.

Inpatient residential addiction treatment can range from free to several thousand dollars per week, with an average weekly cost of just under $5K, or around $700 per day. Outpatient addiction treatment, on the other hand, is much more affordable, with an average weekly cost under $500.  The difference in these prices is mainly based on intensity of care. Inpatient treatment for addiction includes 24-7 staff supervision, room, board, and intensive treatment. Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, may require several hours per day of clinical treatment, but does not require additional staffing or overhead costs.

Is addiction treatment tax deductible?

One way to reduce your cost of addiction treatment in the long run is to use it as a tax deduction. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code considers most addiction treatment services to be medical expenses. According to the IRS tax code in 2013, taxpayers are allowed to deduct the amount of medical expenses that are more than 10% of your adjusted gross income. This would be especially helpful for taxpayers with lower incomes and high medical expenses. To be sure, check with a tax accountant when you file your taxes to verify whether or not addiction treatment expenses qualify as a deduction.

Is addiction treatment covered by insurance?

Possibly. If you already have a health insurance plan, either through your employer or on your own, you may be able to use it to lower your out-of-pocket addiction treatment expenses. Many insurance companies will cover at least part of the cost of addiction treatment. The best way to determine if your insurance plan covers addiction treatment would be to call your insurance company. Most addiction treatment facilities will also be happy to tell you if they accept your insurance.

But in principle, the Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 made it even more affordable for those with insurance to cover their addiction treatment costs. While this act did not require insurance companies to cover mental health and addiction treatments, it did require those that offered this coverage to do so at levels that weren’t any more restrictive than other medical expenses.

Will Medicare pay for addiction treatment?

Original Medicare will cover part of the cost of mental health treatments, including addiction treatment. However, in 2013, the deductible for each benefit period was a little over $1,000 for the first 60 days. Coinsurance costs for each day of treatment was $296 from 61 to 90 days, and $592 for every day beyond 90 days. Medicare Part A, on the other hand, covers any service you receive in an inpatient mental health treatment facility. For more information about Medicare paying for addiction treatment, go to the Medicare website at Medicare[dot] gov or call them at 1 (800) MEDICARE.

Is addiction treatment free?

No. Addiction treatment is not typically free. According to one study, only 4% of the addiction treatment facilities offer their services completely free of charge. Nonetheless, you can find very low cost addiction treatment by contacting you state or county assistance office. This process can be tedious and usually requires a great deal of documentation and follow-up. In some cases, you may need to be very persistent.

Sliding scale addiction treatment

Many addiction treatment facilities offer reduced rates based on sliding scale fees. With sliding scale fees, you’ll only pay what you can reasonably afford to. Your final addiction treatment cost will be based on factors such as your income and expenses. To find facilities that offer sliding scale fees, there are a few very important steps you must take.

  1. Call the National Drug Abuse Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP
  2. Let them know that you’re looking for a local affordable facility that offers sliding scale addiction treatment. Get the phone number for your state’s federally funded substance abuse treatment agency, a division within the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. Call your state’s Department of Health or Substance Abuse Division, and get the phone number for your district’s substance abuse service administration. Districts are usually counties or groups of counties that operate within a state’s budget.
  4. Call the district substance abuse service clinic to set up and complete a drug use assessment. Each county provides different services and you usually have to have proof of residence to access your state’s services.

Addiction treatment financial aid and assistance

Once you have the contact numbers for different addiction treatment providers in your area, call them for more information about their costs. You can also ask if they use sliding scale fees or if they offer any other type of financial aid. You can also contact your county assistance office or Department of Human Services to find out if you may qualify for any additional addiction treatment financial aid and assistance during addiction treatment.

Addiction treatment cost questions

Still have questions about the cost of addiction treatment? Please send us your questions in the comment box below and we’ll try to answer you personally and promptly. If we don’t know the answer to you questions, we can refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: NetQuote: 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: Your Medicare Coverage: Mental health care (inpatient)
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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