Addiction is a costly disease. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spend in excess of $100 billion on cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana combined. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that over eight million people abused prescription drugs in 2010 with about half of those being purchased from a variety of sources. In addition to the costs associated with taking the drug, an addict also suffers the financial burden of losing a job, medical bills related to addiction and paying for court costs associated with drug-related arrests. For individuals who do not make a lot of money, drug rehab may seem like an impossible option. However, if you are in the low-income bracket, you still have options for drug treatment.
The Parity Law and Addiction Services
In previous years heath insurance carriers could offer different benefits for physical health and mental health services. However, the Parity Law, or the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act, was enacted in the United States in 2010. This law requires insurance carriers to offer equal coverage for both physical and mental health. For instance, the limit on the number of days a person can spend in rehab (called the cap or limit) must be equal to the time a person can spend in the hospital per year. In addition the report in 2008 that the Parity Law requires insurance companies to charge the same deductibles and co-payments for both mental health and physical health services. You can’t be charged more because you need addiction treatment. This law was enacted to make rehab more affordable for everyone.
The Affordable Care Act and Addiction Services
The Affordable Care Act, which was enacted earlier this year, was intended to help people get the addiction services they need. For example, all new market insurance plans (essentially most insurance plans in the U.S.) must cover 10 essential benefits, one of which is substance abuse disorder treatment. If you cannot afford insurance through your employer, you can go to the Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase a plan from one of the many carriers in the program that must carry drug addiction treatment as a benefit.
Other Options For Low-Income Situations
If none of these options for insurance and treatment will work for your situation, you still have other resources to explore. Alternatives for low-income situations include the following:
- Non-profit drug treatment – Across the U.S. some nonprofit treatment centers provide free drug treatment. Entry into treatment is based on your income. You can access the Treatment Locator on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website to locate the agencies in your area that offer free treatment.
- Sliding-scale payment – Most nonprofit treatment centers work on a sliding scale system. This means the cost of your treatment will be based on your income. The more you make, the more you will pay for treatment. If you want to try this option for treatment, be prepared to show recent paystubs, tax returns and other financial records that show your financial need.
- State or government funding – Many state-run facilities will take clients who cannot pay for addiction recovery. A 2011 article from Psych Central reported that the staff members at those facilities can help you obtain state-based insurance like Medicaid. You can also go to the S. Department of Health and Humans Services to see if you qualify and what benefits are available to you.
- Loved ones – The people who are invested in your life and your sobriety, such as spouse, extended family and friends, are deeply worried about your addiction and its effect in your life and theirs. In some cases family members would be willing to help you finance your drug treatment if you would commit to entering and completing treatment. However, if you have damaged the relationships with loved ones as a result of your addiction, they might not be willing to fund your recovery. Be cautious, and use discretion if you want to pursue this avenue for treatment.
There are sources of funding for those with a low income. You will need to exercise patience and diligence in finding the funding you need to get help. You can also ask others around you to help you research your options. They may have already done the research in the event that you decided to go to rehab.
Getting Help for Your Addiction
If you are struggling with an addiction and don’t know where to start to find help, we’re here for you. You can call our toll-free helpline any time, 24 hours a day. Our admissions coordinators understand the nature of addiction and can help you find treatment centers in your area that offer free or reduced fee treatment. We can even make an inquiry to your insurance carrier to see what drug treatment benefits are covered under your insurance plan. Don’t let the cost of treatment deter you from getting the help you need. The cost of staying addicted is too steep to ignore. Call us today, and get the help you need.