Your financial situation doesn’t have to prevent you from getting help. There are treatment and care options around mental health and addiction that serve individuals with varying ability to pay. Doing your homework to find a resource that fits your needs and your financial situation is worth it, even if it takes a little more work. Treatment opportunities that are affordable abound, but navigating the process, and understanding costs even when insurance is involved requires some work.
As previously mentioned, the opportunities for profit in the recovery industry has created a crowded and confusing environment. If you search on the Internet, you may feel overwhelmed by the choices and options, many of which make actual cost to the patient unclear. Along with the ethical challenges previously shared, there have been cases where online resources or call centers don’t provide fully accurate information on all costs and fees associated with their programs. This applies to programs covered by private insurance as well. There may be additional fees, or limitations attached to the coverage offered by insurers. Whether due to intent or not, sometimes staff members from providers that stand to make profits via patient care will neglect to mention all fees, promise that fees will be waived, or overestimate the coverage of insurance.
OneStep is passionate about helping individuals and families find providers that put patient well-being at the forefront of their work, be it a non-profit, for-profit, or public agency. Read more (link to “About Us”) about the model we’ve developed to help patients identify these providers, and to help ethical providers reach the individuals they seek to serve.
Payment Models for Recovery Services
For the sake of understanding how to pay for addiction treatment services, we at OneStep like to think of providers as being within three different categories:
First, there are providers of treatment, either inpatient / residential or outpatient, that accept out-of-pocket pay or private insurance. These typically are the most expensive, but may also have the most amenities; they are also the most likely to be for-profit companies, although some may be non-profits. Because of the payment method, there may be a greater potential for some of the ethical challenges due to financial incentives with this category.
Second, there are providers of residential / inpatient or outpatient care that offer either free services or services paid for by government grants or public health insurance. Many of these providers are non-profit organizations or government-run organizations, but some may also be private companies. Belonging in this second category does not guarantee ethical or quality care, but it may indicate less potential for clear financial conflict of interest.
Third, there are providers of a range of additional services that support treatment, but do not include clinical care themselves. This broader category could include sober living homes and facilities, additional counseling services or centers (not already included in a treatment plan or program), experimental therapy providers, or otherwise. Payment methodologies for purveyors of these services vary even more broadly.
Tips for Finding Low-Cost Help
What can you do to find a low-cost or free resource around mental health or addiction?
Remember that free resources exist. The vast majority of support groups are free, and many communities have clinics offering various forms of treatment and support for free or via government funding. Check out our Connection resources for listings of free or government-funded resources.
Talk to someone. A doctor, counselor, or other medical professional, or trusted friend or mentor, may have for ideas on providers that fit your financial needs
Insurers / EAPs can help. If you have insurance, contact your insurer or your company’s Employee Assistance Program to better understand what can be covered.
Read the fine print. Look for service provision that matches your needs. Be cautious around treatment centers that promise to take care of additional costs or fees, such as travel expenses. There have been cases of misrepresentation of fees and insurance coverage that leaves families in major debt.
Be persistent. Some providers may not have initial openings, but space may open sooner than expected. Keep trying until you find a good fit.