How to Pay for Rehab Without Insurance

3 min read · 8 sections
Health insurance typically covers at least part of the cost of rehab. But how do you pay for rehab without private health insurance? Explore the various payment options including private payment, financing, sliding fee scales, and more.
What you will learn:
List of payment options for addiction treatment.
Factors that influence the cost of rehab.
Using Medicaid, Medicare, and COBRA to pay for treatment.

Can You Go to Rehab Without Insurance?

While private health insurance is often used to pay for substance use disorder treatment, it’s not the only option. In fact, a host of payment alternatives are available, and some free programs exist for those who qualify. Also keep in mind that even if you have insurance, you may have to pay out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and copayments, and you’ll likely want to select a provider that’s in-network with your insurance carrier to best leverage your benefits.

So whether you have insurance or not, it’s helpful to carefully consider the financial ramifications of each facility to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. And since each treatment center handles payment a bit differently, you’ll want to ask each one about its payment options, such as insurance plans, scholarships, financing, sliding fee scales, and more.

To help you do just that, here’s a primer that explains the various ways to pay for rehab if you don’t have private health insurance.

Ways to Pay for Rehab Without Insurance

A host of alternative payment options are available, ranging from spreading out the payments over time to finding treatment centers that have reduced fees. Here are some options to consider:

  • Private pay. Many people opt for private payment for rehab. Simply put, that means that they find their own means to pay for treatment via funds from savings, loans, family and friends, and/or CareCredit accounts or similar programs. Roughly 12,000 substance use disorder treatment facilities in the U.S. accept private payment.1
  • Grants and scholarships. Some organizations and treatment centers offer grants or scholarships to help those in need. To pursue this option, ask potential facilities for assistance and/or seek out nonprofits and other organizations in your area that provide this type of funding. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers one such grant known as the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which is accepted by more than 3,500 U.S. rehab centers.1
  • Payment assistance and sliding fee scales. Some treatment centers offer payment plans or other financing options so you can spread the cost of rehab over time. This makes it easier to afford treatment and allows you to go to drug rehab without insurance. Other facilities offer sliding fee scales that reduce the cost of treatment based on your income. While you’ll typically need to qualify for these programs, roughly 2,000 U.S. treatment centers offer sliding fee scales and payment assistance.1
  • Crowdfunding or Fundraising. Another way to get money for treatment is to ask for help. Many people use crowdfunding and fundraising platforms to ask connections and even strangers for money to help them pay for treatment.
  • Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid typically pay for at least part of substance misuse treatment for those who qualify. In fact, more than 6,000 U.S. rehabs accept Medicare, and 10,000-plus facilities take Medicaid payment.1 Note, however, that various plans offer different types of coverage, and some may require that you chose an in-network provider.
  • Tricare. Roughly 5,500 U.S. treatment facilities accept Tricare, which is a type of federal military insurance that covers active-duty service members, retirees, and their families.1
  • State-financed coverage other than Medicaid. Some states have state-financed health coverage beyond the federal Medicaid program. If you qualify, you could use this coverage to help you pay for rehab at approximately 6,700 treatment centers in the U.S.1
  • Indian Health Service/Tribal/Urban (ITU) funds. People of Native American descent may qualify for coverage through the IHS or via various nation or tribe resources. Such coverage is accepted at more than 1,600 rehabs in the U.S.1

How Much Does Rehab Cost Without Insurance?

Whether you have insurance or not, the cost of rehab varies considerably depending on a host of factors such as:

  • Level of care and duration. The more care and services you need, the more it will cost. For example, inpatient treatment typically includes 24/7 care as well as food, housing, staff, etc. Conversely, outpatient care—which includes various levels of intensity—is typically less expensive. Along these same lines, the longer you remain in treatment, the more it will cost.
  • Facility amenities. Some rehabs offer special amenities as part of the treatment program, such as spa services, sports facilities, equine therapy, recreational activities, and more. The more amenities a facility offers, the more expensive it’s likely to be. Additionally, you’ll likely pay more for a private as opposed to shared room.
  • Location. The cost of living varies throughout the country, which means the cost of treatment can also vary by location.
  • Payment type and financial situation. Payment type as well as your own finances can also affect how much you’ll pay for treatment. Variables such as your income and financial situation can impact your eligibility for financing, grants, sliding-fee scales, and more.

Despite these variables, it’s important to focus on the treatment type and duration first and to ensure sure your program matches your needs. That is, you want the most effective treatment for your specific needs, rather than the least-expensive option in your area.

With facilities scattered across the country, American Addiction Centers offers a host of payment options as well as myriad levels of care. To learn more about AAC facilities, costs, and payment options, contact an admissions navigator at . They’re available 24/7 for a confidential conversation to answer your questions and help match your needs to a facility near you.

Using Medicaid to Pay for Rehab

As mentioned earlier, Medicaid is one way to pay for rehab. While it’s technically a type of insurance, it’s not a private-pay option and you’ll need special circumstances to qualify for it.

Medicaid is offered by individual states, and the qualification requirements vary.2 To check your eligibility, apply through your state’s health insurance marketplace or directly with the state’s Medicaid agency.

Medicaid provides at least some coverage for substance use treatment, but it’s important to understand your specific plan and verify your benefits.2 Also contact your treatment center of choice to determine if it accepts Medicaid.

Using Medicare to Pay for Rehab

Another public healthcare option is Medicare, which is offered to those who are 65 years of age and older, younger individuals with a permanent disability, and those suffering from end-stage renal disease.3

Medicare covers a wide range of substance use disorder treatment, but as always you’ll need to review your specific plan, verify benefits, and find out what facilities are in-network if applicable.

Using COBRA to Pay for Rehab

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) ensures that workers who leave or lose their jobs can continue their health insurance coverage for a period of time. You have up to 60 days to enroll in COBRA after your employer-provided benefits end, and COBRA can last 18 to 36 months. That said, once you leave your employer, you must pay the entire group rate premium yourself, which can be expensive.4

If you have COBRA coverage, you have access to substance use disorder treatment under the same health plan you had while employed. Again, you’ll need to verify coverage to see just how much you’ll pay for treatment with your specific plan.

Are There Free Rehabs?

SAMHSA’s treatment search tool, indicates that almost 230 U.S. rehabs don’t accept payment. That said, you’ll typically need to qualify for these free programs, which can be based on finances, mental health conditions, etc.  Additionally, some states have state-funded treatment programs as well as free or fee-reduced programs for special populations such as Veterans, pregnant women, etc.

How to Find Rehab Without Insurance

Clearly, then, there are myriad ways to pay for rehab without private health insurance. You can search for treatment centers near you via This tool allows you to filter by location and a host of options including payment/insurance/funding accepted.

You can also reach out to AAC. We’re happy to provide information on payment options and treatment centers at any of our facilities. Plus, admissions navigators can answer treatment questions, verify any insurance benefits, and more. Contact us at to take your first steps toward recovery today.




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