Addiction treatment without insurance

The basics of finding treatment and how to afford it without insurance.

Finding treatment for your substance use disorder.

The choice to get help for substance abuse can be lifesaving. The decision to seek addiction treatment can be the first step to recovery.

Determining which treatment option is right for you not only includes considerations about your substance use history and personal needs, but also about cost. For many people, worry about the price of treatment keeps them caught in a cycle of substance use long after they know they need help. This is especially true for people who don’t have (or don’t want to use) insurance. 

Fortunately, there are options! Most treatment providers (including Workit Health) accept self-pay options, and there are ways to make addiction treatment more affordable without insurance.

There is no single right way to recover from substance use disorder. Everyone is different, and a person may need different levels of support at different times in their recovery. Here are some of the common options:

Detox

In detox, staff provides supervised medical care as a person goes through withdrawal immediately after ceasing to use drugs or alcohol. Because withdrawal can produce dangerous physical, emotional, and mental effects, this process should often be carried out with expert help. This is especially true for anyone with a history of delirium tremens (DTs) who stops drinking, as DTs can be fatal.

Many people assume that any treatment or rehab provider will also offer detox care, but that is not true. Because of the serious health concerns in detox, many treatment centers do not cover it. It is more likely to be referred to a hospital. 

Detox without insurance coverage:

As with most medical care in America, detox can be pricey.

  • Many hospitals offer payment plans, which can break the cost down into smaller, more manageable payments made over a period of time.
  • Some hospitals and detox centers offer assistance for people below a certain income level (often called “Eligibility Services” or “Financial Assistance”). Hospitals often don’t volunteer this information, so be sure to ask about it. You may have to provide evidence of your income to be considered.

Treatment facilities

Inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatment is what most of us think of when we hear about rehab. It is also known as residential treatment. With inpatient care, you will check into a facility and stay there throughout the day and night. This level of care provides the most supervision, and is therefore best for people who are at high risk or who need medical monitoring. Inpatient rehab is a controlled environment with round-the-clock care. People can stay in inpatient programs anywhere from 28 days to 6 months.

Inpatient treatment may include 1:1 therapy, group counseling, medication, physical activities, nutritional counseling, and educational sessions.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment means that people come for treatment and then go home when their session or appointment is finished. At many facilities, people begin with “intensive outpatient,” or IOP, and then shift to a lower intensity. During IOP, most people will attend multiple-hour sessions several days a week. After IOP is completed (sometimes with a graduation ceremony), continuing treatment includes shorter and less frequent sessions. These sessions can include group therapy, education about addiction, teaching coping strategies, and more.

Treatment sessions at outpatient treatment facilities often last three to six months, but may continue for a year. Outpatient treatment is usually much less expensive than inpatient treatment, so if you don’t need full-time care, it is a good choice. 

Treatment facilities without insurance coverage:

  • Many facilities offer payment assistance or sliding scales. Talk to the facilities you’re interested in to see if they do.
  • Look for state-funded treatment facilities. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Treatment Locator has filters than can help you find treatment centers that are funded by the government. These often have waitlists, but it is worth checking!
  • Some individual counties offer grants to cover treatment for county residents who have no insurance. Try looking at your county’s Public Health department’s webpage, or search for “Substance Abuse Block Grant” and your county.

Medication-assisted treatment

Addiction treatment has come a long way since the 1930s, and there now are FDA-approved medications to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can reduce cravings, lessen the risk of relapse, and help to stabilize recovery. For opioid use disorder, in particular, MAT is considered the gold standard of treatment.

Not every doctor can or will prescribe medications for substance use disorder. To get medical treatment for addiction:

MAT without insurance coverage:

  • Most doctors accept self-pay (in fact, more than those who accept insurance). They may have payment plans to space out the fees for your appointments.
  • Many facilities offer payment assistance or sliding scales. Talk to the facilities you’re interested in to see if they do.
  • Prescription discount plans and pharmaceutical manufacturer coupons often provide discounts on the medications themselves. See our guides to affording Suboxone and naltrexone without insurance coverage for more information. 

Recovery coaching

Although dealing with substance use disorder can be incredibly isolating, you are most definitely not alone. Many people have dealt with the same things you’re going through, and many of them have become recovery coaches. Peer recovery coaches are people who are themselves in recovery and who professionally work with others toward their recovery goals. Peer recovery coaching is a growing field, and research shows that it provides beneficial support for people with addiction.

To find a recovery coach:

  • Workit Health offers online recovery coaching all over the U.S. Sign up now and have convenient access to a recovery coach to keep you on track.
  • Check your state’s local peer recovery coaching options through an internet search.
  • Recovery community centers may act as a local hub to help you find a coach. For example, Connecticut offers a telephone recovery support network. In Austin, Texas, Communities for Recovery allows people to find a coach in their area. Check to see if there is a recovery community center in your area.

Peer recovery coaching without insurance coverage:

  • Peer recovery coaching is often an affordable option, and most coaching services accept self-pay.  
  • There are some free peer coaching options, like the ones available through Families Against Narcotics.
  • Some organizations offer sliding scale fees for peer coaching, based on income. A resource like FindHelp.org might help you locate a peer recovery coach with a sliding scale.  

Meditation

You’ve probably heard that meditation can help with stress, but did you know it can also help with addiction? Studies have shown that meditation can boost brain chemicals and reduce relapse. Meditation can help us gain awareness of our triggers and cravings without acting upon them.

Meditation without insurance coverage:

  • Refuge Recovery, a support group based on Buddhist beliefs and meditation, offers a basic set of meditations for free on their website. You can also attend meditation meetings in person.

Meditations are more accessible than ever, thanks to technology:

  • Search for meditations on YouTube
  • Try a meditation app like Insight Timer, which offers a lot of free options.
  • Apps like Headspace and Calm can also be good resources, but require a paid account after a limited free trial.

Mutual support groups

Mutual support groups are an option for affordable, accessible support. 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have no membership fees and are supported by voluntary contributions but their members. Most towns and cities have regular meetings, and there are Zoom meetings available for anyone to attend regardless of location.

If 12-step meetings don’t appeal to you, there are many alternatives:

Questions about treatment or pricing?

Medication-assisted treatment available in many states

With multiple clinic locations around the country, we are working to make the best care available for you

Online coaching available nationwide.

Citations

1. Buprenorphine. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/buprenorphine. Accessed November 2021.

2. Cavicchioli, M., Movalli, M., Vassena, G., Ramella, P., Prudenziati, F., & Maffei, C. (2019). The therapeutic role of emotion regulation and coping strategies during a stand-alone DBT Skills training program for alcohol use disorder and concurrent substance use disorders, Addictive Behaviors, 98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106035

3. Dutra, L., Stathopoulou, G., Basden, S.L, Leyro, T.M., Powers, M.B., & Otto, M.W. (2008). Meta-Analytic Review of Psychosocial Interventions for Substance Use Disorders, The American Journal of Psychiatry, 165:2, 179-187. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.06111851

4. Beetham, T., Saloner, B., Gaye, M., Wakeman, S.E., Frank, R.G., & Barnett, M,L. (2020). Therapies Offered at Residential Addiction Treatment Programs in the United States. JAMA, 324(8):804–806. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.8969

5. Pruett, J.M., Nishimura, N.J., & Priest, R. (2011). The Role of Meditation in Addiction Recovery, Counseling and Values, 52: 71-84. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-007X.2007.tb00088.x

6. Eddie, D., Hoffman, L., Vilsaint, C., Abry, A., Bergman, B., Hoeppner, B., Weinstein, C., & Kelly, J.F. (2019). Lived Experience in New Models of Care for Substance Use Disorder: A Systematic Review of Peer Recovery Support Services and Recovery Coaching, Frontiers in Psychology, 10:1052. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01052