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Knowing the Cost of Addiction Treatment

Knowing the Cost of Addiction Treatment

June 26, 2014
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It is no secret that drug rehab can be expensive. Although there are many different levels of substance abuse treatment, it is important for a parent, family or loved one to be aware of the cost of addiction treatment for their suffering loved one. Using substance abuse treatment in Maryland as an example, cost can range from around $30,000 for an inpatient hospitalization program all the way down to a free, long-term program like the 12 month spiritual recovery program offered at the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore City (www.helpingupmission.org). Additionally, it is important to note that although drug rehab or addiction treatment services can certainly be expensive, it actually costs on average about seven times less than what staying addicted costs an addict, their family and society at large.

The first point to make to someone searching for addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one is to do their research. There are many different ways to pay (or not pay) for drug and alcohol treatment, but the consumer needs to know what they are looking for and what their options are in relation to the treatment they will be receiving. Initially, it’s important to remember that costly does not always equal quality. Just because a treatment center costs a lot of money does not necessarily mean that the treatment is of the highest quality. The credibility and quality of a good substance abuse treatment center comes from the clinical aspect of the program. The treatment an addict or alcoholic receives comes from the clinical staff not the amenities. As an example, here at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center all of our clinicians are Master’s level licensed therapists that are educated and have worked with a dual diagnosis population of patients. When calling up a drug rehab, be wary of the program that only asks basic questions (what are you using and how much) and then delves directly into the finances (What insurance do you have?) or the amenities that are offered.

The second point to make is that the easiest, cheapest way to receive treatment for addiction and alcoholism isn’t always the best way. There seems to be a mindset or a preconceived notion that addiction and mental health treatment should be free. Many people have the same idea about other human health services. Just like other medical care, addiction treatment can be costly so many people look to choose the path of lease resistance when it comes to choosing a substance abuse treatment center in Baltimore, MD and throughout the country. People must remember that addiction and alcoholism are chronic, progressive, ultimately fatal diseases if left untreated. Just like cancer treatment, addiction treatment is costly but choosing the cheapest or easiest payment route isn’t always the best. You wouldn’t choose the cheapest cancer doctor and cancer treatment because it was expensive and addiction treatment needs to be looked at in the same light. Cancer, left untreated, is fatal. Addiction, left untreated, is fatal. How much is worth saving a life? Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone can afford it. Addiction has often made people lose all money and financial help and there are good, quality programs available to those in need. For those that can afford it, however, make sure the correct research is done into the payment methods and the treatment center to make sure it’s a good fit. Simply saying “this rehab is in network with my insurance HMO” probably isn’t the best way to decide on the place that is going to be treating a fatal disease. There are many quality substance abuse treatment facilities that are in network with different insurance companies, but many are not and based on your own research into a rehab that offers quality, comprehensive addiction treatment services, it may be worth paying the additional prices or even not using insurance at all to receive the important, quality addiction treatment services that are needed.

Here are several different ways that drug rehab and other addiction treatment services can be paid for by someone in need:

  • Free (often state run facilities): Drug rehab in Baltimore and in many other areas of the country often can be free is the person qualifies for the program. Local, state and federal agencies provide drug treatment, counseling and other substance abuse and mental health treatment programs for those that cannot afford to pay for rehab.
  • State Insurance & Medical Assistance: Those that qualify and receive medical assistance, Medicare and Medicaid and other state insurance can often find a program that will accept this form of payment. One of the many drawbacks to the treatment offered at these facilities is they are often overrun with patients, meaning that the treat a large population, group size can grow unmanageably and good quality, individualized care can suffer. This occurs not because of the facility itself, but often the treatment center or program is unable to hire the amount of staff or properly trained and educated staff to deal with such an oversized patient population.
  • Private Commercial Insurance In Network/HMO Benefits and Out of Network/PPO: Private commercial insurance like BlueCross BlueShield, United Healthcare, Aetna and Cigna certainly cover some if not all costs of drug and alcohol treatment. These types of private, commercial insurance often offer one of two options: HMO plans and PPO plans. HMO plans often only allow the covered party to see and be treated by treatment centers that they are in contract with and therefore are “in the network”. and will not pay for treatment centers that are not in the network. This sometimes can limited the option for quality treatment. Private commercial insurance plans that are PPO’s often will have out of network benefits, meaning that the insurance will cover some or all of treatment by a provider not in network with the insurance company. Many of the highest quality treatment centers throughout the country are out of network with insurance companies, meaning that they will only accept patients with out of network benefits or that pay the full cost in cash.
  • Private Pay: Of course, if so situated, people can pay for drug treatment with cash and not go through insurance. There is not a treatment center on earth (or anyone else in any other line of business) that wouldn’t accept a cash payment for services. The ability to private pay opens up a lot of doors related to treatment, and this doesn’t necessarily mean paying cash for at $30k a month for three or more months. Private pay means that a person will never be denied treatment because their insurance won’t pay or that they will only get a short 14 day stay in a 30 day inpatient facility because their insurance ran out. Private pay is probably the best but most difficult way for someone to acquire drug and alcohol abuse treatment services.
  • Financing the cost of treatment: One avenue that many people are unaware of is financing the cost of treatment. Companies like MyTreatmentLender.com (www.mytreatmentlender.com) specialize in helping families get their loved one the treatment they desperately need through financing and loans. Some individual rehabs offer their own financing options. For those people that are having trouble paying for the cost of substance abuse treatment in Maryland, these are certainly valuable avenues to explore.

 

There are many different issues when it comes to paying for addiction treatment. Many people just don’t have the funds. Others only want to go through insurance. Maybe they’ve paid a lot for a loved one’s treatment before and are just unwilling to keep paying? Maybe they expect the service to be free? Others are confused by the insurance companies and the coverage they offer. The Affordable Care Act is supposed to take some steps in making mental health and addiction treatment more accessible and affordable for more people, but it will take several years for this parity to be enforced. Many quality, comprehensive addiction treatment providers stay out of network from insurance companies because the insurance companies pay so little for services. Local insurance companies in Maryland often have so small a payout for services that quality addiction treatment providers in the Baltimore area stay out of network only as a means of survival while the ones that do go in network need to double or triple the amount of patients they see to stay in business which in turn leads to less personalized and individualized care for the patient. Some insurance companies have stopped paying for inpatient detox programs and will only cover the bare necessity of time at an inpatient program. Some insurance companies force a patient to fail multiple times at intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment centers before authorizing inpatient drug treatment. Regardless of the unbelievable practices of some insurance companies, those people seeking substance abuse treatment for themselves or their loved ones need to be aware of the different avenues available for paying for the cost of treatment as well as be educated on what comprehensive addiction treatment looks like and what quality treatment they will receive based on the potential cost.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug and alcohol addiction and needs treatment please call us for help. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive addiction treatment in the area. If we aren’t the best fit, we will work with you to find a treatment center that fits your needs. Please call us at (410) 773-0500 or email info@marylandaddictionrecovery.com. For more information on all of our alcohol and addiction treatment services and resources, please visit the web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.