It’s hard enough to make the decision to let go of your drug/drink of choice. And that’s not for a lack of knowing addiction is bad for you (to say the least). It just seems impossible to change your life when you currently harbor an emotional and physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. So, when you finally do swallow the hard realization that you can’t keep living in addiction and you reach out for help, the last thing you want to hear from a treatment facility is: “I’m sorry, we unfortunately don’t accept your insurance.”
It initially seems almost ironic. If you’re wondering how programs that pledge themselves to helping others can deny someone’s insurance, you’re not alone. Detox and residential treatment are both incredibly intricate and involved. Medication, therapists, food, housing, therapeutic extracurriculars, 24-hour staff, and everything else that help to make treatment programs safe, comfortable, and effective cost money. Unfortunately, there currently are restrictions on government healthcare that deny many private treatment programs the ability to accept such insurance. As a solution, some programs offer an out-of-pocket cash rate in hopes of still being able to help people who have little control over their insurance.
But what do you do if you can’t even afford the cost of that cash rate?
1. Ask Family for Financial Support
This is a tricky one. In most other cases, people will go to their loved ones first when they need financial help with something important. But that’s not entirely true of addicts. Addiction is a family disease. Not only does it destroy your own physical and mental wellbeing, but it also ruthlessly strains and twists your relationships. Your loved ones want what’s best for you, but sometimes they need to put what’s best for them first. That often means taking a step back from an addicted loved one. While that may seem unjust and selfish to an addict, it’s actually generally a necessary step in pushing someone to get the help they need. After all, an addict won’t feel the need to get help if their detrimental habits are being fed at home.
Because addiction puts such a strain on an addict’s relationships with his loved ones, asking family for financial help in paying for the cost of treatment might not be an option. But if it is, this could be a good option. It can be somewhat healing for loved ones to feel as though they’re really taking part in your recovery by offering financial support. And it also gives you more accountability in making sure you complete treatment, not just for yourself, but for your family and supporters as well.
For Loved Ones: If you are able and willing to offer financial support for your loved one’s treatment, it’s important to make sure there’s a clear and mutual understanding of what that support actually means. For example, if you expect your addicted loved one to pay that money back in time, communicate it. Or if you have personal consequences for your loved one if they leave treatment early, let them know. Honesty is crucial in recovery.
2. Use a Credit Card
Sometimes simply adding another credit card to your account can easily solve this financial dilemma. Granted, this is probably not going to be a viable option for residential treatment, as that cost is generally much higher than detox. But a credit card can help cover the cost of a detox program, depending on what the cash rate is.
New Start Recovery currently has a discounted cash rate for detox. It’s a one-time, all-inclusive cost. The rate pays for doctor visits, medication, a private chef, any therapy sessions (whether they be group or individual meetings), an individual case manager, any typical housing needs, and everything else that goes into the comfort and safety of our clients. If opening a credit card can help pay for any or all of the cost of detox, it is well worth it.
Credit cards are a good option because you’re essentially floating that money while you’re in treatment. You need not worry about managing and paying that money until after you graduate treatment. By that time, you will be clean, sober, and significantly more prepared to reenter the world as a functional person. However, we’re also not trying to put out any rose-colored, false ideas. Failing to comply with the limits of a credit card can ruin your credit, which will affect your life long into the future. So, we strongly recommend against opening a credit line if you have no intentions of paying it back. But if that’s something you can manage in the future, then it can be a great option. Your current and biggest priority is getting help. The sobriety and clarity you gain from that help will, in turn, help you manage those “real life” things – like credit – in the future.
3. Invest in a Private Insurance Plan
If you’ve been turned away by healthcare providers because of your insurance (attn.: Medi-Cal policy holders), you might consider investing in a private insurance plan. With all this bipartisan attention surrounding our nation’s current healthcare status, most people aren’t even aware that buying your own private health insurance is an option. The thing is it’s probably one of the best options if your current insurance (or lack thereof) just isn’t cutting it.
How to Invest in Private Health Insurance:
Buying your own health insurance may seem daunting at first, so breaking it down into a few more manageable steps will really help. First, you need to decide what type of health insurance will work best for you and your needs. While there are many smaller insurance plan categories, health insurance usually falls under one of two umbrella types: HMO (health maintenance organization) and PPO (preferred provider organization). You might consider doing some research among your ideal treatment facilities to see what types of insurance they take to help with your decision. New Start, for example, accepts most out-of-network PPO insurance plans.
Next, decide how big of a deductible you can manage. This is going to be your out-of-pocket cost. It’s the amount that your insurance does not cover. There’s a huge range between deductibles, so it’s best to decide what you can manage first and then look for insurance plans that fall close to that budget. After you have your type and deductible figured out, you can start browsing health insurance companies.
Investing in a private insurance plan is ideal because it’s not just going to help with addiction treatment. It will also help pay for other healthcare needs in the future, such as doctor visits for the common cold. But, if you only need health insurance for a short amount of time (such as for the cost of detox alone), there are short-term healthcare plans that cover those needs as well. It just takes a little effort to find a plan that works for you.
4. Get a Small Loan
Similarly to opening a credit card, a small loan is another “floating money” option. Private loan companies exist for reasons like this. They offer a wide range of loans to help you afford something upfront. If a detox facility’s cash rate is too high for your own pockets or any credit card you can be approved for, a loan might be the way to go. Again, I don’t recommend you get a loan that you have no intentions of paying back. We’re in the business of helping people make a better future for themselves, not ruin it with bad financial advice. However, a loan can be the answer for certain people, particularly those who have a job to go back to when they graduate from treatment.
It’s important to do your research before you take out a loan. Pay attention to things like APR (annual percentage rate), minimum required payments, and payment dates. You’ll want a loan that gives you enough time to focus on your recovery without having this loan looming over the immediate future. On the other hand, if you find a loan that gives you time but also has an unreasonable interest rate, that won’t work either. Take the time to find a solid loan that works best for your lifestyle while also allowing you to put your immediate attention into your treatment.
We still want to help you even if these options don’t.
No one should feel like they have to keep suffering just because they don’t think they can afford to reach out for help. Don’t let your current insurance limit your life. If you can manage one of these other options to at least pay for the cost of detox, it will be worth it. Your life is priceless, after all.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, New Start can help. Call us at 855-737-7363 to see if we accept your current insurance. And if not, don’t give up. We’ll happily explore every option to get you the help you need.