How much does outpatient alcohol rehab cost?

Outpatient alcohol rehab costs, on average, about $2-5K per treatment episode. More on the costs of outpatient alcohol rehab here.

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Is outpatient alcohol rehab expensive?

No, outpatient alcohol rehab is NOT that expensive. Relatively speaking, outpatient rehabilitation is an excellent option for low cost addiction treatment. Why?

Setting affects cost. And while inpatient settings help treat people with severe psychiatric, medical, and substance use problems, the extra cost of inpatient rehab is not always justified. Combined with the lack of evidence of inpatient superiority, this makes outpatient rehab more and more attractive.

Still, there is very little information currently published on outpatient treatment program costs. And although less expensive than cost for inpatient treatment, high quality intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) aren’t free. But to help you make up your mind, compare the cost of rehab with the cost of continuing to drink. A cost that is more than financial: it is social, relational, and spiritual bankruptcy.

Outpatient alcohol rehab: How much does it cost?

………………………………  PER WEEK      PER EPISODE
Non-methadone outpatient     $74 – $221       $1-$2K
Intensive outpatient                $243 – $598     $1.5-$5.7K

Within these treatment settings, each type of treatment modality is priced differently. For example, average per hour costs of Motivational Enhancement Therapy are more expensive (~$130 per contact hour) than either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ($75 per contact hour) or 12-Step Facilitation ($80 per contact hour).

Is outpatient alcohol rehab covered by insurance?

Yes, many insurance companies cover the cost of alcohol rehab. However, even if your insurance covers addiction treatment, there’s still a good chance that you’ll have some out-of-pocket costs. The majority of health insurance companies require policyholders to pay a small co-pay, or coinsurance, in order to receive addiction treatment. This may be a percentage of treatment costs or a fixed rate. Fixed co-pays can range from $10 to $150 per day of treatment.

If your insurance company denies your addiction treatment claim, there are a couple actions you can take. First, you can appeal this decision. In order to do this, you’ll need to investigate the appeals process and possibly gather evidence that outpatient rehab is a medical necessity for you. You can then write an appeal letter or fill out an appeals form and send it to your insurance company along with any supporting documentation.

If your appeal is denied and your insurance company refuses to cover addiction treatment, you may qualify for reduced cost addiction treatment under sliding scale fees. Most addiction treatment facilities also offer financing options, in which you’ll make payments over time to cover the cost of addiction treatment.

Is outpatient alcohol rehab tax deductible?

Yes, there are ways to claim the cost of alcohol rehab on your tax return – as long as you itemize your deductions on Schedule A. In fact, any medical and dental cost is deductible in the same way, as long as it exceeds more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year.

­­So which addiction treatment costs are included as acceptable medical expenses that can be deducted? According to the Tax Code, medical costs are defined as “the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” The only other directives point out that illegal treatments or operations are not tax deductible and that a few services are definitely included.

If you are enrolled in a alcohol program and incur costs for psychological treatment or medical treatment – even an ambulance ride somewhere in the process of healing and getting better – then your costs are covered under the circumstances described above. Some of the costs that relate to addiction treatment may include any diagnostic, evaluation, and treatment services.

Will MediCare pay for outpatient alcohol rehab?

Medicare can cover the cost of alcohol rehab, since it falls under the broad category of mental health services. But, when do you qualify for Medicare coverage for outpatient alcohol rehab?

Medicare Part A and Part B enrollment typically happens automatically once you turn 65 and begin to collect Social Security benefits. You’ll typically receive your Medicare enrollment cards in the mail shortly before your birthday and coverage begins the first day of your birth month.

In some cases, however, you may need to enroll in Medicare yourself in order to take advantage of Medicare coverage for drug rehab. To do this, you can apply online at the Social Security Administration website, call the Social Security Administration, or visit your local Social Security office. Keep in mind, though, that there are specific enrollment periods in which you can sign up for Medicare.

Is outpatient alcohol rehab free?

If you are sincerely interested in quitting drinking for good, there are several options available that cost very little or nothing at all.

1.  Federal vouchers (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA is accepting applications for the program Access to Recovery (ATR) to provide funding to Single-State Agencies (SSAs) for substance abuse services in the states, territories, tribes, and tribal organizations to carry-out voucher programs for substance abuse clinical treatment and recovery support services. A major goal of the ATR program is to ensure that clients have a genuine, free, and independent choice among a network of eligible providers.

The population of focus includes individuals with substance use disorders, including: active military/national guard members, veterans (especially Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom), individuals returning to the community from the criminal justice system, individuals involved with drug courts, clients leaving residential treatment, parenting, pregnant and postpartum women, individuals involved in the child welfare system, and individuals experiencing homelessness.

2.  State Department of Health and Social Services

The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) provides state and federally funded intervention and treatment services for adults, primarily through contracts with private agencies. Services include: screening and evaluation; outpatient counseling; opioid treatment, including methadone maintenance; continuous treatment team programs for individuals with long-term, disabling alcohol and drug dependence disorders; less intensive case management services offered through the outpatient counseling agencies; detoxification; and residential services. The residential services include short-term/variable length-of-stay treatment (30 days or less), long-term treatment, and halfway houses. In addition to serving women in all of the residential treatment programs, one residential treatment program is targeted specifically to women, including pregnant women and women with infants.

3.  Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a professional and confidential resource for employees and family members seeking assistance with any personal matter affecting their well-being, and even job performance. The EAP helps with depression, addiction, family and relationship issues, grief/loss, coping with change and a wide variety of things. The program is paid by the employer, and free to employees and family members.

In terms of helping with personal or family issues, the EAP is meant to be used for assessment, diagnosis, and short-term problem resolution. If an issue is more complex and requires long-term assistance, the EAP counselor will make a referral for additional services. The EAP also offers referrals and resources for a variety of work/life issues including legal consultation, financial consultation, childcare and eldercare services.

4.  Non-profits

Some non-profit groups also offer free or low-cost addiction treatment for those in need. One example is the Salvation Army, which offers free addiction treatment to anyone who needs it. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are free self-help recovery programs that anyone can use to overcome their alcohol or drug addictions.

Sliding scale outpatient alcohol rehab

Even if you have no health insurance, alcohol addiction treatment is possible. There are a number of resources that you can use to help cover the costs of rehab. Sliding scale fees are offered by many addiction treatment facilities. These are reduced fees primarily based on a person’s income. Other factors, such as the size of a person’s household and monthly expenses, may also be taken into consideration. If you don’t qualify for reduced cost addiction treatment, certain facilities may offer financing to help you pay for treatment.

Outpatient alcohol rehab financial aid and assistance

Scholarship is one other form of financial aid for an outpatient rehab. Some centers will also help you set up a payment plan. It is always a good idea to phone or visit an inpatient rehab center and ask them a few questions about costs and how you can access financial aid.
Some questions to ask before you enter rehab:

  • Am I covered by my health insurance?
  • Can I claim any of this treatment at tax time?
  • Do I have to pay upfront or can I pay incrementally?
  • Do you offer a sliding fee scale?
  • Is this program covered by Medicaid or Medicare?

Often, an admissions specialist will have some answers to these questions. If not, we are here to help.

Outpatient rehab cost questions

Still have questions about the cost of outpatient rehab? Contact us if you have any questions or comments. We’ll try to get back with you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NBCI: The Economic Costs of Substance Abuse Treatment: Updated Estimates and Cost Bands for Program Assessment and Reimbursement
NIH: Cost Research on Alcoholism Treatment
Fonthill Counseling: Tax Deductions for Substance Abuse Treatment
SAMHSA: Access to Recovery
DHSS: Substance Abuse
The Office of Veteran’s Affairs: Comparison of Cost and Outcomes of Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment for Substance
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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