How to Find Free Rehab Programs

Paying for rehab without insurance can be a difficult but not impossible task. Public insurance and free rehabs can help you find treatment.

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For many people, lack of health insurance and the high costs of treatment are a barrier to entering treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD). Fortunately, free addiction treatment centers provide rehab for people without insurance.1 There are also low-cost rehabs and helpful ways to finance your recovery so that you or your loved one can get the help you need to live a life free from addiction.1

Who Qualifies for Free Rehab Programs

People who cannot afford treatment due to low income or lack of insurance coverage may qualify for free rehab.1 Qualification requirements vary depending on the rehab and addiction treatment program. Many free rehabs have strict requirements to help people who need it the most. You may be able to get free rehab if you are in a specific group, such as:

  • Veterans Affairs (VA) provides free addiction treatment to eligible veterans.2
  • Members of a specific faith community. Faith-based rehab centers incorporate the teachings and practices of religion into substance use disorder treatment programs.3
  • Belonging to a priority population. Priority populations are people who may be at higher risk of severe complications and health issues from substance use. For example, in Washington state, the government may fund substance abuse treatment services for:4
    • Teens/adolescents.
    • Pregnant and postpartum women.
    • Parents.
    • IV drug users.

What Is Included in Free Rehab Programs?

As with other addiction treatment programs, free rehab programs provide care in a safe, secure environment. Exactly what is included in free rehab programs depends on your chosen program. Free rehab programs may include the following addiction treatments:

Some free rehab programs include a full range of treatments from detox to aftercare support. Other types of rehab focus on one aspect of care, such as intensive inpatient care to outpatient medical maintenance. Before you enter treatment, ask about the types of addiction treatments the free rehab you are considering provides.

Types of Free Addiction Treatment Programs

If you’re looking for alcohol or drug rehab without insurance, it’s essential to know the different types of free addiction treatment programs you can choose from. Some common types of free addiction treatment programs may include:

Government-Funded Rehab

Rehab programs offered by the federal and state governments may provide free addiction treatments for people without insurance and those who do not have the financial means to pay out-of-pocket for treatment.1

The funding source for government-funded rehab centers varies from state to state. Many receive their funding through a combination of federal grants, state budgets, and reimbursement through Medicaid.5

Government-funded rehab programs include:

State-funded rehab programs. These rehabs provide a variety of evidence-based treatments, medications, and therapies for addiction treatment.6 Every state has different requirements for those who wish to access free drug and alcohol rehab funded by the government. To learn about your state’s requirements, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services and reach out to the listed contact for your state to learn more.

Government health insurance coverage. Medicare and Medicaid are two government healthcare coverage programs. Each provides coverage for different populations and has slightly other sources for funding: 7,8

  • Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program available to individuals 65 years old and older or for people of any age with certain disabilities.
  • Medicaid is a state and federal-funded government health insurance program available to low-income individuals, regardless of age, pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities.

State-funded alcohol rehabs and drug rehabs often allow patients with Medicare and Medicaid to get treatment at their facilities. Some private rehab centers also accept Medicaid and Medicare.

VA treatment centers. The VA healthcare program covers substance use treatments for eligible veterans. If you do not have VA healthcare coverage, you must first apply for VA healthcare. Some veterans who don’t have VA healthcare benefits may still be able to access treatment.2

Non-Profit Rehab

Non-profit organizations operate some treatment centers or provide funding to centers that offer free addiction treatments for those in need. As the name implies, these rehab centers do not make a profit but instead put all revenue into the facility and substance abuse treatments offered at the rehab.9

Many non-profit rehabs provide treatment and addiction recovery support to specific populations, such as women, youth, homeless adults, LGBTQ+, etc. Each non-profit rehab has its own requirements to determine who qualifies for free rehab at its center.

Faith-Based Rehab

Many faith-based rehabs offer free substance abuse treatment centered around a specific religion. Grant programs through the government provide funding for some faith-based rehabs that engage with people with substance use disorders and/or provide treatments at their centers.10

Each faith-based rehab has its own requirements to determine who qualifies for free addiction treatments at its center. Some do not require you to subscribe to a specific religion or faith, and others do. These rehabs use a combination of evidence-based addiction treatments and religious principles and practices to help individuals with substance use disorders.

How Can I Get Immediate Addiction Treatment?

The high demand for free addiction treatment might mean you have to go on a waitlist before you are given a spot at a free rehab. Waiting sometimes deters people from getting the help they need, but it can have detrimental effects. Research shows that up to 50% of people on waitlists for free rehab are never admitted to treatment. In many of these cases, addiction severity worsened while they waited.11, 3rd paragraph under “discussion” heading

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration has a free search tool, the Treatment Services Locator, to help you find local rehabs. You can also filter search results based on payments accepted, free rehabs, rehabs that offer sliding scale fees, and treatment types.

Call addiction helplines. Many organizations offer free helplines that can help you determine if your insurance (if you have it) covers addiction treatments. Or, let them know you want to know how to get into rehab without insurance, and they can help you find free or low-cost rehabs near you. Call or text to speak with an American Addictions Center (AAC) treatment specialist 24/7 for support and guidance.