How to Go to Rehab Without Insurance

There are alternative ways to pay for rehab if insurance is not an option. This article will cover ways to access rehab without insurance.

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If you don’t have health insurance, a treatment provider may be able to set you up with insurance once you begin treatment or you may begin rehab without insurance. In either case, if you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you should seek professional help.

Some drug and alcohol users may be at high risk for dangerous medical complications as a result of their addiction. These situations should be taken seriously:

  • Withdrawal symptoms: Abruptly stopping or reducing alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremens and seizures, which may be fatal.1
  • Recent overdose: Fatal overdose may occur while using opioids such as heroin, alcohol, and prescription drugs, including barbiturates.1
  • Severe depression and suicidal thoughts: The risk for suicide may increase during stimulant withdrawal.1 

Additionally, there may be specialized programs are also available for people who are either homeless, pregnant, elderly, under the age of 18, or struggling with mental illness. These people may be able to access treatment sooner.

Trying to go to rehab without insurance or find affordable addiction treatment may seem difficult. However, rehab for the uninsured is available, free detox programs do exist, and there are alternative ways to pay for rehab without insurance.

Finding Rehab Without Insurance

Below are some resources you can use to find a rehab for uninsured people.

  • SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator provides an online search of local substance abuse and mental health treatment programs in the United States. You can also call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Representatives are available 24 hours a day and offer assistance in English and Spanish.
  • The Alcohol and Drug Helpline can assist with finding a treatment center regardless of age, income, or health insurance.
  • Boys Town National Hotline is a resource for children, teens, parents, and families in crisis. Counselors can communicate in English and Spanish and may assist with treatment referrals.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, confidential support and resources for people in distress. The Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-(TALK) 8255.

Additionally, American Addiction Centers has authored a series of guides to help people better understand rehab services in their state. For information about how to find a local detox center that meets your needs clinically and financially, find and review your state’s guide below:

How to Pay for Rehab Without Insurance

Going to detox treatment without health insurance. Other rehab payment options include:

  • Bank loans.
  • Borrowing from family or friends.
  • Borrowing from a personal savings or 401(k).
  • Credit cards, including health care credit cards.
  • Crowdfunding on platforms such as GoFundMe.
  • Developing a payment plan with a treatment program.

Free Rehab Alternatives for People Without Insurance or Money

Community support groups can be a valuable addition to withdrawal treatment. Twelve-step support groups help members maintain sobriety by following the 12 steps developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. These programs are free to attend.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) focuses on recovery from alcohol addiction. AA offers face-to-face meetings in over 150 countries around the world. The goal of AA is to help members attain and maintain by developing a connection with a Higher Power and connecting with other members for support. Members are also encouraged to develop a list of past errors with the help of an experienced member, make amends for these errors, and pass along the message to newcomers.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a popular 12-step group that helps people recovering from all drugs of abuse. Similar to AA, NA emphasizes spirituality and mutual support.
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) encourage abstinence from cocaine, crystal meth, and other mind-altering drugs using the same 12-step principles as AA and NA.

Alternative recovery support groups are also available. Unlike 12-step groups, these groups do not emphasize spirituality as a tool for sobriety.

  • SMART Recovery is a rapidly growing support group that offers face-to-face and online meetings. SMART Recovery meetings focus on teaching skills to help members maintain motivation for sobriety, cope with urges, manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and find lifestyle balance.
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) advocates that recovery from alcohol, drug, and food addiction can be achieved when a person makes sobriety the number one priority in life. SOS helps members by providing support in a secular, or nonreligious and nonspiritual, environment.
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery is a peer support group that emphasizes empowerment and personal growth. LifeRing helps members maintain abstinence using a secular approach.

How Do I Sign Up for Insurance?

The first step in signing up for health insurance is to find out whether you’re eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.

  • Medicare is a federal program that offers health insurance for people who have severe disabilities or are age 65 or older. You can sign up here.
  • Medicaid is a state and federal program for people with low incomes who cannot afford other types of health insurance. Some people may have both Medicare and Medicaid. To find out whether you qualify for Medicaid and/or to apply for coverage, visit this site. If you have children, you are pregnant, or you have a disability, your state will likely have coverage options for you.

Medicare is divided into different parts that can help cover the costs of addiction treatment.2

  • Medicare Part A can help pay for inpatient addiction treatment. However, Medicare Part A will only cover a lifetime limit of up to 190 days of treatment in a specialized psychiatric hospital.
  • Medicare Part B may cover up to 80% of outpatient treatment costs.
  • Prescriptions, such as methadone, may be covered under Medicare Part D.

Medicare may cover the costs of methadone and buprenorphine during inpatient detox or hospital stays if they are prescribed by a Medicare-certified facility.3 However, Medicare does not cover medications prescribed on an outpatient basis.

Medicaid coverage for medication-assisted treatments, including methadone and buprenorphine (Suboxone), varies from state to state.3,4

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) can help provide insurance for people who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. To learn more about this program and to sign up for health insurance, see the Affordable Care Act website.

You may apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act if you are a U.S. citizen or national, are currently living in the United States, and are not incarcerated. You cannot enroll in the Affordable Care Act if you have Medicare coverage.

Open enrollment is a period of time during which eligible people can apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment typically begins in November of the previous year and ends in January of that year. For more information, see the Health Insurance Marketplace’s dates and deadlines.

Certain qualifying life events allow for enrolling outside of the open enrollment period. You may be able to enroll in health insurance during special enrollment periods if you have recently experienced one of the following:

  • Marriage
  • Birth or adoption
  • Attained U.S. citizenship
  • Lost previous health coverage
  • Moved to an area where new health plans are available

States may require proof of qualifying life events in order to enroll during a special enrollment period. To see if you qualify, visit the ACA website.

To enroll in the Affordable Care Act, go to the Healthcare Marketplace website.

The Affordable Care Act requires that most insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover the basic costs of addiction treatment.4 It also guarantees that anyone applying for health insurance cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing addiction or mental health issues.

Even though the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies cover basic rehab, including therapy and counseling, insurance may not cover every type of addiction treatment or medication. However, treatment centers may be able to offer affordable services even without insurance by lowering the fee or offering a rehab payment plan. Consider contacting a treatment center directly to find out whether these options are available.