State-Funded Drug Rehab Guide
State-funded drug rehab can be an affordable option to start the recovery process for people who don’t have insurance or the funds to pay for treatment. In 2018, more than 21 million (7.8% of the population) Americans aged 12 or older needed treatment for substance use disorder.1 However, only 3.7 million (1.4% of the population) received treatment.1 Not having health insurance coverage and being unable to pay for treatment played a role in 32.5% of these people not receiving treatment for a substance use disorder.1 State-funded drug rehabs help circumvent this problem. Many state-funded drug rehab facilities operate through government grants, allowing them to provide treatment at lower cost to people who may not have insurance.
This guide will help you or a loved one understand how state-funded drug rehabs operate, whether or not you may be eligible for treatment, and how they differ from private drug rehabs.
What Is State-Funded Drug Rehabilitation?
State-funded drug rehabilitation centers are addiction treatment facilities that receive funding through government sources.2 Federal grants for substance abuse treatment, state funds, and reimbursement through government health programs such as Medicaid are the main sources, although federal and state sources can supplement the funding for treatment.2 Funding sources and the amounts disbursed can vary by state. This funding makes free or low-cost drug rehab treatment available to people who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise.
Some of the state funding is earmarked for people who are court-ordered to substance use treatment.2 Not everyone who is mandated to treatment has health insurance coverage and many cannot afford treatment.
Medicare and Medicaid are state- and government-funded health insurance programs that can be used for substance use disorder treatment.2; 3 Medicare is a health insurance program available to Americans over the age of 65 regardless of income and people who are under 65 and disabled or on dialysis.3 Medicaid is a health insurance program available to low-income individuals; the eligibility requirements vary by state.3 Due to their relationships with state and government organizations, many state-funded drug rehabs accept Medicare and Medicaid.
Additionally, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded coverage to help more people receive access to health insurance and ensure mental health parity. In effect, this means that mental and behavioral health disorders are covered similarly to physical health disorders.4 5 This extends to substance use disorder treatment, including coverage for detoxification, inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, standard outpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment, and additional services to support and strengthen recovery.4 5
Eligibility for State-Funded Rehab Programs
Due to the high demand for services, state-funded rehab programs often have detailed eligibility requirements. The specific requirements can vary by individual state. You may be asked to provide documents showing:6
- Family size.
- Lack of health insurance coverage.
- Proof of income.
- Proof of residency in the state you are seeking services in.
To find out more about eligibility, reach out to the agency that oversees state-funded rehab programs in your state.
When Will Treatment Begin?
One of the greatest drawbacks of state-funded drug rehab programs is that they may be difficult to attend. Over a third of people who need treatment for substance use disorder lack the funds or insurance coverage to receive it.1 At a result, many seek out cheaper state-funded rehabs. due to the high demand for services and limited funding for these facilities, there are often waiting lists to get admitted into a state-funded rehab program. Once you have applied for services and are deemed eligible, you may be placed on a waiting list. Depending on the size of the waiting list, it can take weeks or months to begin treatment.
Private vs State Rehabilitation Center
State rehabilitation centers and private rehab facilities both provide treatment for substance use disorders, but differ in their treatment programs, payment methods, and management.
State-funded rehab programs offer treatment at a significantly lower cost than private rehabs. Since these programs are overseen by state agencies, all treatment methods used are extensively studied, evidence-based, and have been proven effective at treating substance use disorders. Staff members are licensed and certified to treat addiction. Everyone in a given state rehabilitation center is facing their own substance use disorder, allowing you to receive peer support from other program participants.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to state rehabilitation centers. Funding is provided through limited sources, leading to many potential problems. The high demand for a fixed number of spaces in the program can lead to long admission wait times. Rather than spending money on fancy amenities, state-funded drug rehab programs often require participants to share rooms. They also may focus more on treatment rather than comfort. There may also be a higher patient-to-staff ratio, resulting in care that is less tailored to the needs of each individual. Additionally, newer or more experimental treatment methods may not be available in state rehabilitation centers.
Private rehabilitation centers are not limited by funding sources the way that state-funded rehab programs are. Health insurance pays for a significant portion of the treatment costs for most people. The increased income allows these facilities to provide a range of different services. Wait times can be much shorter than you would find at a state-funded drug rehab program, allowing people to get into treatment sooner. The patient-to-staff ratio is often lower, allowing these programs to tailor treatment methods to the needs of each individual.
Effective, cutting-edge treatment methods are frequently added to traditional treatment methods to support recovery efforts. These techniques can also make it more likely that private facilities can treat people with complicated needs, including co-occurring mental or physical health disorders. Alternative treatment methods may also be incorporated into the treatment process, such as art therapy, music therapy, equine therapy, yoga, and meditation. Private substance use disorder treatment centers frequently offer private or semi-private rooms. Some private rehabs offer accommodations similar to luxury settings, chef-prepared meals, and physical activity centers. The cost of treatment for these facilities is much higher than state-funded treatment centers, and without health insurance coverage, it may be difficult to afford treatment at these programs.
Treatment can be a highly effective way to address substance use disorders, regardless of which type of facility you choose. Either type of program can be helpful and potentially lifesaving, but the choice of programs depends on your individualized needs and resources.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2000). Integrating substance abuse treatment and vocational services. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 38. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4216. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Department of Health and Human Services. What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
- Abraham, A.J., Andrews, C.M., Grogan, C.M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K.N., Pollack, H.A., & Friedmann, P.D. (2017). The Affordable Care Act transformation of substance use disorder treatment. American Journal of Public Health, 107(1), 31-32.
- Healthcare.gov. Mental health and substance abuse coverage.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Paying for treatment.