Private Pay Rehab Centers: Private Pay Rehab for Drug & Alcohol Addiction

3 min read · 6 sections
The vast majority of treatment centers in the U.S. accept private payment (aka self pay).1 But what exactly does private pay rehab entail? What levels of care are available? And what factors might affect your costs? Discover the answers to these questions and more with this primer on private pay treatment centers.
What you will learn:
Insights about private pay rehabs and their levels of care.
Factors that affect the cost of private pay rehab.
Payment options (e.g., loans, sliding fee scales, low-cost treatment centers).

What is Private Pay Rehab?

Private pay rehab centers—aka self pay rehab facilities—are treatment centers that accept out-of-pocket payments in the form of cash, credit, and/or loans. Private payment is just one type of compensation option among a host of others. In fact, most rehabs accept multiple forms of payment, including various combinations of: private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare (for service members, Veterans, and their families), tribal funds, private payment, and more.2  

Many people assume that self pay rehab is uncommon or an option reserved for the wealthy. However, it’s actually a customary payment route among most treatment providers. According to the 2020 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) Report, 90% of facilities surveyed indicateed that they accept cash or self payment, compared to 74% and 71% that take private insurance and Medicaid, respectively.1

Keep in mind, private pay isn’t typically used in conjunction with insurance. That is, if your insurance provides partial payment for treatment and you pay the rest—or you pay co-pays, deductibles, etc.—this isn’t considered a private-pay scenario.

What Are the Types of Private Pay Rehab?

Since most facilities are considered private pay drug and/or alcohol rehabs, a wide variety of treatment options are available. While rehabs can offer all or only some of these selections, here’s a brief rundown of the various levels of care available via private pay rehabs.

  • Detox. Detox is the period during which the body rids itself of harmful substances. During detox, healthcare professionals can offer support for withdrawal-related cravings and symptoms and ensure the patient’s safety. While detox is often the first step toward recovery, it’s not a solution in itself. Rather, it’s just one part of an effective treatment program.3
  • Inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab provides patients with access to continuous care 24/7. Patients live within the treatment facility and participate in various therapies, such as one-on-one counseling, group therapy, pharmacotherapy, and psychoeducation. Inpatient rehab helps people build coping skills to prevent relapse and promote long-term recovery.3
  • Traditional outpatient rehab. With standard outpatient rehab, patients live at home while in treatment. Many outpatient programs are loosely structured, allowing you to attend less frequently. However, treatment options are similar to those of inpatient programs; they’re just provided at a lower intensity. And although each outpatient program is unique, traditional outpatient rehabs typically involve fewer than 9 hours of services per week.3
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP). A PHP, or day treatment program, is a highly structured form of outpatient rehab that acts as the midway point between inpatient and outpatient treatment.4 Many PHPs such as American Addiction Centers treatment facilities provide 6- to 8-hour blocks of treatment over the course of 3 to 7 days per week, after which patients often transition to intensive outpatient or traditional outpatient rehab programs.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP). A step up from traditional outpatient treatment and a step down from inpatient treatment, IOPs usually mimic the therapies provided via inpatient facilities. However, the care is provided at a lower intensity. IOPs regularly require patients to attend 6 to 30 hours a week over the course of 90 days, and patients often participate in a lower level of outpatient care following IOP treatment.5
  • Aftercare. Mental health professionals recommend continued rehab, called aftercare, immediately following treatment to help individuals transition to everyday living while maintaining their sobriety long term.3 Some aftercare options include 12-Step programs, ongoing counseling, etc.
  • Sober living. Sober living homes provide a substance-free space to continue recovery as you transition from formal rehab to the new normal of everyday life.
  • Telehealth. Telehealth is a flexible, convenient treatment option, allowing patients to participate in at least some treatment offerings—e.g., group or individual counselling, peer meetings, etc.—online or via phone.

How Much Does Private Pay Rehab Cost?

The cost of private pay rehab centers can vary according to several factors such as:

  • Level of care.
  • Length of stay.
  • Facility’s amenities and accommodations.
  • Location.
  • Insurance coverage (e.g., co-pays, deductibles, in-network vs. out-of-network, etc.)

Also keep in mind that when insurance companies enter into a contract with a provider, the latter agrees to charge no more than a contractually agreed-upon price for services for members. So without this insurance company and provider agreement, facilities can charge basically whatever they want. Thus, in a private-pay scenario, you might end up paying more for the same services than someone using insurance.

That said, many facilities prioritize getting you the help you need, and they understand that people without insurance may not have the financial means to pay for treatment. So various financing options such as sliding fee scales also may be available.

Bottom line: Pricing varies according to a host of factors. The best way to find out exactly how much you’ll pay is to contact the facility directly. American Addiction Centers offers a host of facilities across the United States, and admissions navigators at can assist you in identifying payment options, verifying insurance, and more.

Private Pay Options for Rehab Programs

When you hear the term “private pay,” you might automatically think of cash. While paying with cash or a check from your savings is certainly possible, various other types of private pay funding are available, including:

  • Loans. Many people use loans to pay for rehab. In addition to securing a loan from a bank or a company specializing in addiction financing, some people take out a private loan with family or friends. Additionally, some people secure a loan from their own 401Ks or retirement accounts to pay for treatment.
  • Credit. Paying for rehab with credit is another common option. You can apply for health and wellness financing credit cards, such as CareCredit, to cover treatment upfront. Often, these healthcare financing options charge no interest for 6 to 24 months. However, you usually need to pay off the entire amount within the allotted time period or risk being hit with significant interest charges.

Drug and alcohol rehab centers, community organizations, and government institutions also offer flexible payment options so people without private insurance can still get addiction treatment. Here are some payment alternatives and lower-cost facility options to consider if you don’t have health insurance.

  • Sliding fee scales. Some treatment facilities offer a sliding-fee scale, where the amount you pay is adjusted based on your income.
  • Grants and scholarships. Local and government organizations provide grants and scholarships to fund treatment partially or fully. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides block grants to fund treatment for high-risk and at-risk populations.6
  • Government-funded treatment centers. Some states offer free and/or low-cost treatment centers for those who qualify. These programs receive money from various sources, such as the state budget, federal grants, and Medicaid reimbursement, to provide free or discounted rehab.
  • Treatment for special populations. Special populations, such as pregnant women, adolescents, members of the LGBTQ+ community, Veterans, etc., may be eligible for free- or reduced-cost treatment at various rehab centers and through some community organizations.
  • Payment plans. Some rehab centers offer payment plans where you pay a fixed monthly amount for treatment.

Keep in mind, many facilities accept payment from not only private insurance companies but also government-funded options such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Tricare.

Advantages of Private Pay Rehab Centers

Paying for rehab out of pocket has a few advantages. First and foremost, private pay allows those without insurance to get the care they need. Similarly, sometimes the best facility to suit your needs isn’t in-network with your insurance carrier. In this scenario, private-pay rehabs offer the opportunity to go out-of-network and match your needs to the facility’s offerings.

Additionally, some insurance companies simply won’t pay for luxury facilities. Paying out of pocket ensures you get the treatment you want instead of compromising on amenities, services, activities, etc.

Private pay rehabs also maintain a slightly higher level of privacy than paying with insurance. Sadly, the negative stigma against addiction still exists. So while you certainly need not feel ashamed to get help, you may want to keep your treatment private. While this may not be an issue for most individuals, high-profile personalities (e.g., corporate executives, elected officials, celebrities, etc.) may have added concerns about their privacy.

While all rehabs must adhere to the privacy mandates of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), an added (albeit minimal) level of risk is involved when your data is shared with additional parties, such as an insurance company. Though these companies are bound by HIPAA, data can be leaked via employees, hackers, and more.

How to Find Private Pay Rehab Centers

With facilities scattered throughout the U.S., American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers high-quality treatment, multiple levels of care, and a host of payment options, including private payment. Contact one of our admissions navigators at to explore your options.

Another way to find private pay rehab is via Among the 12,750 substance misuse treatment centers listed on the platform, nearly 11,500 indicate they accept private payment.2 The handy site allows you to filter your search by location, payment accepted, type of care, treatment approaches, special population services, and more.

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