Cost of IOP treatment and Intensive Outpatient Rehab Programs

Intensive outpatient rehab for addiction is both effective AND less costly than inpatient rehab. Daily, you pay under $200 out-of-pocket compared to $700+ for inpatient. More on the cost effectiveness of intensive outpatient treatments here.

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Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs (IOPs) for addiction are among the least costly treatment options available today. The weekly cost per client is estimated at under $800, while the cost per treatment episode is less than $5K. More here on the relatively low cost of intensive outpatient treatment and its effectiveness…with a section for your questions about IOP for substance abuse at the end.

Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment expensive?


Compared to a stay at a residential rehab, participation in intensive outpatient treatment programs  costs much less. IOP costs are significantly lower since people live at home and they are not paying for a room or a bed, meals, or a full medical staff that’s available 24/7. Daily, you pay under $200 out-of-pocket for an IOP compared to $700+ for inpatient. In fact, inpatient rehabs can cost $20K+ for a 28 day stay. But even though IOPs are less expensive than inpatient treatment programs, high quality intensive outpatient programs aren’t inexpensive. But, costs depend greatly on the services included, duration of treatment, health insurance coverage, and other payment options.

How much does Intensive Outpatient Treatment Cost?

These are the factors that can determine how high will the costs of Intensive Outpatient Treatment for addiction will be, and they include:

1. Services included. Although intensive outpatient is a rather unified model of treatment, different patients have different needs and goals, so costs can vary from one intensive outpatient program to another, but the client’s needs can also influence the final bill. Also, therapists and counselors may charge more or less depending on location, number of sessions, number of clients, etc.

2. Duration of treatment. IOPs usually last about 90 days, but this can also vary from 8 to 12 weeks. Costs can also change depending on the frequency of meetings and sessions held per week. Some IOP meet 3 times each week, while other meet up to 5 or 6 evenings. Also, the duration of treatment sessions is different, and may last anywhere from 30 minutes or an hour, to 90 minutes, even up to 2 or 4 hours a day.

3. Health insurance. Based on how much the treatment provider will pay for each therapy session, the costs that the patient will be required to pay are set up. Some health insurance providers will cover the full expenses, while other may require the patient to pay or co-pay a deductible. In order to know how much you will need to cover out-of-pocket, we advise you to seek pre-authorization for intensive outpatient services.

Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment tax deductible?

Yes, intensive outpatient may be tax deductible. Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body. Some of these medical care expenses are tax deductible and may apply to your situation. For more detailed information we advise you to visit the IRS website.

Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment covered by insurance?

Many insurance plans cover some or all of the cost of Intensive Outpatient Programs. If you are thinking about entering an intensive outpatient, feel free to call the hospital or treatment facility and get detailed information about insurance plans accepted.

Will Medicare Pay for IOP substance abuse?

Medicare covers the cost of drug rehab, just like all health insurance policies offered on the open exchanges since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This also includes intensive outpatient treatment services. Medicare usually covers psychotherapy, pharmacotherpay, and educational sessions. A medical doctor must recommend this type of treatment and a proof of medical need may need to be demonstrated. The important thing is that the services are reasonable and necessary for the treatment of the individuals’ condition.

We hope the following links can help you see if you qualify for MediCare. Contact MediCare and learn about coverage for Intensive Outpatient Treatment, here:


Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment free?

Intensive outpatient treatment programs are rarely free of charge. However, you can apply for low cost or very low treatment cost programs through your state’s federally funded substance abuse referral program.  But the process can be tedious and require lots of follow up.  Especially if someone does not pick up the phone.

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  • Resources about addiction and recovery
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Finding Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program Near Me

Here are steps to finding sliding scale, low cost Intensive Outpatient Treatment in your area.

1. Call the National Drug Abuse Hotline number. 1-800-662-HELP

2. Tell them you’re looking for low cost, sliding scale Intensive Outpatient Treatment and where you live. Get the phone number for your state’s federally funded substance abuse treatment agency, a division within the state’s Department of Health Services.

3. Call your state’s Department of Health/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 an initial intake appointment in the county in which you reside. Complete the drug use assessment. Each county provides different services and you usually have to have proof of residence to access your state’s services.

Financing an Intensive Outpatient Program for Substance Abuse

We encourage you to gather more information about substance abuse, that way you will be able to make decisions about addiction treatment. Knowing the cost of IOT may seem to be discouraging at first, but knowing the options that can help you make it more affordable can help you make a decision to enter treatment.

Other Payment Options for IOP Treatment:

  • Borrowed money – from close friends and family that you’ll pay back after recovery
  • Financing – look into financing options with different payment types
  • Supplemental insurance – such as health savings accounts and other options
  • Savings – retirement savings or a college fund may be used as a source of funds

IOP for Substance Abuse Questions

Do you still have questions about intensive outpatient programs? Please leave your questions or comments in the section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.
Reference Sources: NCBI: Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Medicare: Your Medicare Coverage
SAMHSA: Grants
NCBI: Services in Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs
NIDA: Economists Offer Program for Costing Out Drug Abuse Treatment
About the author
Debbie has been in the field of addiction for 20 years and represents Stepping Sober, an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) with recovery residence located in South Florida. In addition to being a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Debbie is certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Trauma Therapy.
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