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Paying for Rehab

How much does rehab cost?

For most people weighing their options for drug and alcohol treatment, cost is a factor. In the long run, paying more for an effective treatment that matches your needs and improves your quality of life is more important than saving money on a program that can’t provide lasting results.

When it can be done safely, outpatient treatment can be a great cost saver compared to inpatient rehab and may be equally or even more effective. If you do not have a safe home environment or are unable to attain recovery in outpatient treatment, the expense of inpatient rehab may be a worthwhile investment for your recovery. 

First, determine your treatment needs

Work with a health care professional to determine your treatment needs. Then search for quality programs and put together a list of addiction centers that offer the treatments you need. 

Get detailed information specific to your circumstances

With your health care provider’s assessment, you can begin estimating the rehab costs of the programs on your list. Contact programs for detailed information based on your insurance coverage and financial situation. Ask:

  • Are the specific treatment services I need available to someone with my financial and insurance needs? Ask specifically about the kinds of therapy and treatment settings that were identified in your assessment by a qualified clinician.
  • Is the program recognized by my insurer as an in-network provider? (See “Review your finances and insurance information” below.)
  • What would I be billed for my treatments? Ask for a list of the charges for the specific treatments you need, if the program and your insurer have agreed-upon rates, and how much you would have to pay out of pocket.
  • Is the program for-profit or nonprofit? A nationwide audit found that for-profit rehab programs charge over double the cost of nonprofits. 

Higher costs don’t necessarily mean better treatment.

When it comes to addiction treatment, more expensive programs aren’t always better than others. Sometimes alcohol or drug rehab programs provide luxury “extras” that have not been proven to effectively treat addiction or lead to recovery. This doesn’t mean you should search among only the “cheap rehab centers,” but you should focus on finding a program that provides evidence-based treatments that match your needs.

Review your finances and insurance information

Rehab costs at each program will vary depending on the program’s location and services. Gather information on these costs and coverage offered by any of the following that apply to you:

  • Health insurance policies
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Employer assistance program
  • Employer disability coverage
  • Savings
  • Credit information

Health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid

If you have insurance or are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, review your policy carefully to determine if the rehab services you need are covered and if there are limitations. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) requires most group insurance plans and those on the Health Insurance Marketplace to offer benefits for treating substance use disorders. However, the specific treatments that are covered will depend on the state where you live and the type of plan you have.

  • Look online or call your insurer to obtain a summary of benefits and coverage for mental health and addiction treatment.
  • For Medicare information, visit or call 1-800-633-4227. For Medicaid information, find your state here and then search for benefits and coverage.
  • Review your summary of benefits and coverage, or ask a representative:
    1. Are health care providers required to get authorization from the insurance company before treating substance use disorders? (If so, you will need to share this information with your rehab provider.)
    2. Are there are out-of-pocket expenses? How are they estimated?
    3. Are there limits on the number of days or episodes of treatment that are covered?
    4. Which rehab providers in my area are in my insurance network? (Note that some insurers list mental or behavioral health providers in a separate directory from other health care professionals.)
  • If you are denied coverage for rehab services that you believe are covered in your plan, you may want to contact a benefits advisor at the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Go to or dial 1-866-444-3272.

Employer assistance programs

Ask if your employer offers an employee assistance program (EAP). An EAP is an employer-sponsored service to help employees (and sometimes their dependents) who are experiencing personal or family challenges. They usually pay for services related to mental health, alcohol or other substance use disorders, financial, and legal concerns. Check your employer’s benefit policies or contact a human resources staff member.

Payment assistance

If you have limited personal funds or you do not have insurance, there may be programs available to you that help cover alcohol or drug rehab costs. To take advantage of these options, you may need to document your income, net worth, or credit history. Use these resources to find addiction centers that offer income-based fees, lower prices, or payment plans:

  • Use our treatment locator and select the search options to find programs with payment assistance.
  • Call the SAMHSA treatment referral line at 1-800-985-5990 or text TALKWITHUS to 66746 to receive professional assistance on determining the best treatment center with payment assistance options.
  • Find the government agency that provides addiction services in your state and see if it offers programs that will meet your needs.

Treatment can be expensive. But there are options, programs, and resources available to help you afford the cost of your treatment. And remember, entering a rehab program is an investment in your health, happiness, future, and life.

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Content reviewed by Dr. Jasleen Salwan, MD, MPH, FASAM, February 2023.