Of all criticisms lodged against the treatment industry, the most common is that many cannot afford addiction treatment. We see this complaint made frequently in several forms.
“This option isn’t available to those who are struggling financially.”
“Treatment is only for rich kids and rock stars.”
“I’m going to die because I’m not wealthy or famous enough to get help.”
We can identify two problems with this line of thinking. First, it often leads to self-destruction. Those who suffer from substance use disorder often base many of their decisions on what they believe about themselves. By repeating the mantra that we cannot seek help, we define our condition as a hopeless existence. We give into our disorder, believing no options remain but a long, slow death at the hands of our disease. Assuming we cannot find good help, we decide not to bother looking for it. Our lack of faith therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The second problem with assumptions of this nature is that they simply are not true. Help is readily available. We need only to seek it.
At New England Recovery and Wellness, we work diligently to break through this way of thinking. We do so by providing numerous options to help those who fear they cannot afford addiction treatment. Not simply because we wish to help as many as we can, but because the need for options that cater to those in dire straits has become greater than ever.
Financial Issues Are Incredibly Common
While we may challenge the assumption that only the wealthy can afford addiction treatment, we recognize the sentiments behind it. Most people who struggle with substance use disorder find themselves short on funds.
Drugs and alcohol cost money. Just look at cigarettes. Assuming an average cost of $6.28 per pack, a person who smokes one pack per day spends over $2000 per year. For those in lower income brackets, this is a lot of money. Now compare this to the average bar tab, or the amount a person pays their dealer every week. Substance users living paycheck to paycheck soon find themselves struggling. Those with legal troubles further lose money on bail, or payments to the probation office. Looking back, it’s a wonder that more of us didn’t wind up on the streets.
Even without factoring in the cost of our substance use, many of us struggle to keep money in the bank. A number of us began using at a young age, hurting our education and career prospects. We take whatever jobs we can get, and those jobs rarely provide us with a 401k and insurance benefits. Even with food stamps, those with families count themselves lucky if they can still keep their stomachs full after feeding their children each week. Those of us who rely on parents or others to provide for us hardly fare better, as our loved ones find themselves in similarly precarious circumstances after paying our expenses and—often unwittingly—paying for our continued drug use.
With inpatient rehabs averaging about $28,000 per month, we naturally assume we cannot possibly afford addiction treatment under these circumstances. How can you pay for something that costs more than what you make in a year? Fortunately, options do exist, for those both with and without insurance.
Navigating Your Insurance Options
Even those with insurance sometimes fear they cannot afford addiction treatment. Some insurance plans will not cover mental health care. Others will only cover partial stays in treatment, leaving clients feeling deprived of help just as they were beginning to make progress. Some insurance companies cover the full cost of treatment, yet try to influence your choices. In these cases, their goal is to save money by steering you toward a low-cost program that may not provide the depth of care necessary to make a full recovery.
These issues affect a large number of individuals who struggle with substance dependency. In 2015, the National Alliance on Mental Health found that more than 40% of patients struggling with mental health issues such as substance use disorder did not receive the necessary coverage to ensure proper treatment. Furthermore, those who receive insurance from an outside party such as the state or an employer lack control over which benefits they receive.
Overcoming these hurdles requires a bit of understanding regarding how insurance works. For instance, when your insurance company recommends a low-cost local program, you may assume they won’t cover anything else. If you’ve tried similar programs and did not find them helpful, you might give up on seeking anything better. Upon further inspection, however, you might discover that your insurance actually covers 100% of your treatment at an out-of-state private facility. They simply did not recommend such a program because it would cost them more.
New England RAW can help you navigate your insurance plan to make the most of it. We accept most major insurance, and will work with your company to cover as much of your treatment as possible. Never assume you cannot afford addiction treatment simply because your insurance company didn’t give you all the relevant information.
Helping You Afford Addiction Treatment
What about those without any insurance at all, or whose insurance does not cover mental health care? Surely, those in such a predicament truly cannot afford addiction treatment. At least, that’s what many are inclined to think; however, nothing could be further from the truth.
Many of our own staff entered recovery while struggling with finances. We understand the difficulties involved, and we provide options to help ease such hardships. Private pay clients take advantage of a sliding fee scale, with access to lending options and payment plans. In this way, clients who cannot afford addiction treatment all at once may space out their payments.
Even with these options, some will find it difficult to afford addiction treatment. Fortunately, New England RAW does provide a limited number of scholarship beds. Depending upon availability, we may provide full grants to those in particularly desperate need. Should we not have any available scholarship opportunities, however, do not dismay. We can still provide further resources that may help you. This is where our referral policy comes into play.
Our Policy on Placement and Referral
New England RAW strives to place as many clients as possible. We prefer to place clients in our own facility, as our confidence in the virtues of our program allows us to assure clients that they are in good hands. Should this not be an option, we still seek to place clients at other facilities that may suit their needs.
Finding free or low-cost resources can be difficult for those who don’t know where to look. Due to personal and professional experience in recovery, we already have this information at our fingertips. Some are surprised to hear that we offer this service; however, we see it as a fundamental means toward achieving our primary purpose of helping substance users to recover. Competition and profiteering run counter to this goal, and are not concepts we believe any reputable treatment provider should embrace. If we feel a client could benefit from the services offered by another facility, we owe it to them to help them seek referral.
If you fear you cannot afford addiction treatment, do not hesitate to contact us for help. Whether placing you in our own facility, referring you to another, or providing you information on resources in your area, we will do whatever we can to be of service.