Substance abuse is a growing problem in the United States, but it has still not been completely accepted as a medical condition. Paying for substance abuse treatment can be a problem since not all healthcare insurance plans provide coverage. Compounding the problem is the fact that not all treatment centers will accept private insurance payments. Americans seeking substance abuse treatment may have to shop around for both healthcare insurance and treatment centers.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SAMSHA is a federal government agency which provides free information on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. SAMSHA reports a growing trend among private insurers to cover substance abuse treatment since it is now recognized that substance abuse is not a mental health disease limited to the poor; it is epidemic at all economic levels in American society. There are treatment centers which do not accept payments from private healthcare insurance, but SAMSHA records indicate that many rehabilitation centers have changed their previous policies and now accept insurance payments.
Healthcare Insurance for Substance Abuse Treatment
There has been a growing awareness that substance abuse is a medical problem and many private healthcare carriers are now including coverage for treatment in their plans. The insurance community was slow to accept mental health diseases as a medical problem, but now most plans cover treatment for illnesses like depression, bi-polar disorder and OCD. Substance abuse is considered a mental health disease, but different insurers offer different types of coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Policyholders should check with a company representative about the exact coverage offered under their plan.
Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
Some substance abuse treatment centers do not accept payments from private insurance carriers. People with insurance coverage may be able to pay for treatment at these centers and seek reimbursement from through their healthcare insurance plan. Many drug rehabilitation centers are non profits which in the past have relied heavily on donations and government subsidies and they have been reluctant to accept private insurance payments because it might impact their non profit status. SAMSHA has documented a recent increase in the acceptance of insurance payments at drug treatment centers.
Outpatient Substance Abuse Therapy
Most recovering addicts require a combination of inpatient and outpatient therapy and will be referred to outpatient programs following their treatment at an inpatient facility. Some private healthcare insurance plans may not cover outpatient therapy or may limit outpatient coverage. Fortunately, some of the most successful outpatient substance abuse treatment is available at little or no cost. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have excellent success rates and are free to join. Members of HMOs and PPOs may have covered providers for outpatient therapy.
There are many options for the treatment of substance abuse, but a limited number of treatment facilities. Some HMOs and PPOs offer coverage for both inpatient and outpatient treatment of addiction and these treatment centers are usually part of the managed care or preferred provider organization. Not all substance abuse treatment programs accept payment through private health insurers but patients seeking treatment can check with treatment centers for payment options.