There can be quite a bit of variation in the cost of an inpatient withdrawal management program for alcohol use disorder. Numerous factors can influence the cost of the program as well as its effectiveness.
- The type of facility one chooses will affect the cost. Inpatient treatment costs significantly more than outpatient treatment programs because clients in an inpatient unit are provided with living quarters, meals, housekeeping services, etc., in addition to treatment and therapy.
- The length of time one spends in the program will obviously affect the cost. Program length can vary significantly from a couple weeks to 90 days or more, depending on the needs of the client.
- The types of treatments being used will affect the cost of the program. Medications are expensive, physician consultations and nurse consultations are expensive, and adjunctive treatments can also be expensive.
- The location of the facility will affect the cost of the program. Facilities located in the inner city will typically be less expensive than facilities located on a vacation resort, beach, in the mountains, etc.
- Whether the facility is a state-run facility or a private facility will influence the cost of treatment. Private facilities tend to be more expensive.
- Other factors can also contribute to the cost of the program, such as treatment for co-occurring disorders, treatment for special medical conditions, and the size of the program.
Information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) treatment provider locator indicates that the average cost for withdrawal management can range from $600 to $1,000 a day in most cases. For complete treatment of withdrawal management from alcohol, the overall cost can vary from $6,000 to $10,000 for a relatively short stay and significantly more for a stay that is more than 10 days. Individuals who stay in facilities with luxury amenities or have private rooms can expect to spend two to three times this amount.
How to Pay for Inpatient Detox
When a person is considering an inpatient withdrawal management program for alcohol abuse, they should also take into account the cost-benefit analysis of getting sober and started on the road to recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the benefit from getting treatment for any substance use disorder far outweighs the cost of the treatment at both the societal level and the individual level. Thus, it is important to remember that treatment offers an advantage over other alternatives, such as incarceration, legal fees and fines, physical and emotional damage, loss of relationships, etc.
Even though it may be clear that a cost-benefit analysis indicates the treatment is worth the cost, individuals still have to pay for their treatment. There are numerous ways to do this.
The first option is to use insurance. Most people likely have some coverage for alcohol use disorder treatment in their policy due to stipulations made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). The ACA includes stipulations that guarantee that insurance providers have treatment coverage for substance use disorders that is equivalent to other coverage in the policy for primary health care issues. Thus, most insurance plans will cover at least some of the cost of inpatient withdrawal management programs for alcohol use disorders.
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However, insurance may not cover all of the cost of the inpatient stay. There may be deductibles or copays. Certain services, such as non-treatment-related services may also not be covered depending on an individual’s policy. Therapies that do not have empirical validation for their use in the treatment of withdrawal from alcohol may not be covered (e.g., ultra-rapid detox programs, acupuncture, or the use of certain medications). The first way to find out what services are covered and what costs an individual will be responsible for under their policy is to contact the insurance company’s customer service department. A representative can give details regarding the extent of coverage, what services are covered, copays, etc. Then, one can find an appropriate program that will work with their insurance company to provide the most effective coverage. Typically, inpatient withdrawal management programs have significant insurance coverage with most insurance policies.
For individuals who do not have insurance, the use of public government insurance programs like Medicaid or Medicare may be an option. Medicaid provides insurance coverage for low-income individuals, and Medicare is a government-sponsored insurance program that is available for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. Even if an individual qualifies for Medicaid or Medicare, there will probably be some out-of-pocket expenses. Many inpatient treatment programs will accept individuals who are applying for Medicaid. One can sign up for Medicaid at the Medicaid website or search for affordable insurance programs at the ACA market website.
Many inpatient programs will allow clients to finance the cost of their treatment. Prospective clients can discuss this with intake supervisors and may be able to make a small down payment and then make payments on the total cost of their treatment on a monthly basis. Those without insurance should discuss this option with potential treatment providers if they are not going to get insurance.
There might be the option to use a community mental health center to begin inpatient withdrawal management from an alcohol use disorder if the individual has no insurance. One can check with their local community mental health center or their state’s website to find out if this option is available. Some of these programs may also offer payment on a sliding scale basis, such that fees are adjusted to fit the income of the individual.
Oftentimes, individuals borrow money from loved ones to cover the cost of treatment. Remember that treatment will pay back many times its cost to an individual, and eventually, one should be able to start making payments on loans. Some people choose to pay for treatment on credit cards, or start a crowdfunding campaign to offset some of the costs.
Some treatment centers offer scholarships or financial aid to individuals who need treatment and cannot pay for it. These facilities will evaluate the financial situation of the person and then offer certain types of treatment programs that fit their needs and financial situation. While these programs are rare, it never hurts to inquire with facilities in one’s area to find out if this option exists.
The important thing to remember is that the value of the treatment far exceeds the cost. Individuals who want to become sober can find a way to get the treatment they need.
Finally, simply going through the withdrawal management process is not the basis for a solid recovery. An individual will need to become involved in a treatment and long-term aftercare program after the completion of the withdrawal management program in order to ensure that they are addressing the issues that drove their alcohol abuse, developing a relapse prevention plan, and maintaining their sobriety. Without commitment to a long-term aftercare program, the individual will inevitably relapse.