The decision of whether or not to enter treatment for alcohol and drug addictions should not have to be financial in nature. However, for most Americans, the finances of a drug treatment program are a very real issue. One way to pay for treatment for yourself or a loved one is to determine whether your insurance carrier includes it in their benefits. You might be surprised how many policies now have at least some coverage for drug treatment. The costs associated with the effects of drug and alcohol abuse over long periods can cost far more than the treatment itself.
Questions You Need to Ask Your Insurance Provider
Each policy is different and depends upon which coverage selections were made when the policy was created. If your policy comes through employment, the company you work for determined the coverage based upon how much they wanted to pay for their share, as well as how much the employees could reasonably afford for their premiums.
By asking the right questions, you can find out exactly what kind of and how much coverage exists for drug treatment.
- Does the policy cover inpatient, outpatient, residential or all treatment options?
Some policies are set up on a prerequisite basis. For instance, you may have inpatient residential coverage, but it is only available after intensive outpatient services have been exhausted and failed. Another type of coverage might cover medical detox, but not residential care after the detox period has been completed.
These are important questions to ask prior to admitting yourself or a loved one into facility. If insurance is unable to pay, you may be on the hook for the remaining bill or you may even be forced to leave if the facility cannot verify your ability to pay.
- Does the policy cover “extras”?
Some treatment centers are set up like hospitals, and others are set up like five-star hotels and resorts. Choosing a five-star resort-style rehab when your insurance only covers the medically necessary expenses can put a serious crimp in your budget. For instance, a regular rehab center might charge $400 per day for a room, while one of the more exclusive centers might charge $1,000 per day. Your insurance company may pay the exclusive facility, but they are only going to pay the $400 of which they approve. The remaining $600 per day would then come out of your budget after you’ve completed rehab. In most cases, without the proven ability to pay, the upscale rehab center may ask you to transfer to a more medicinal setting that your insurance is more likely to cover.
- Does the policy allow for alternative therapies?
Many rehab treatment centers have incorporated alternative therapies like equine, art and music, martial arts or sound therapy into their daily routines. There is a chance that the providers of these services are independent contractors who will bill your insurance for each session. You’ll need to know if your insurance will cover this type of activity before you attend the sessions so you aren’t presented with a large, unexpected bill at the end of your treatment term.