How to get into rehab if you don’t have insurance

Understanding health coverage

Being uninsured or underinsured does not mean there are no avenues to get health coverage.

Hospitals that accept federal money must provide a certain amount of free or reduced fee care. Check with the hospital’s financial aid department to see if you qualify for reduced or charity care.

To start the process of getting care, meet with a caseworker at the hospital to gather relevant paperwork and begin applying for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Caseworkers or social workers are sometimes assigned by your hospital (though you may have to ask for one). They are there to assist you in managing your family member’s care.

Health Insurance Marketplace

A Health Insurance Marketplace is defined as a new way to find quality health coverage. It can help if you don’t have coverage or if you have it but want to look at other options.

With one Marketplace application, you can review lower costs based on your income, compare your coverage options side-by-side, and enroll.

The health reform law requires that all American citizens have the opportunity to shop online (or by phone) for the best available insurance coverage to fit their individual needs and budget.

Depending on a person’s income, the coverage options provided through the Marketplaces may be a better choice than what is currently offered through an individual’s employer, but they may not be. Of course, the Marketplaces will also offer the uninsured choices that may not have been privy to in the past.

Depending on where you live, the Marketplace in your state will be accessible through a website operated by either the federal or state governments.

Healthcare.gov will direct you to the Marketplace in your state, pretty seamlessly. It’s certainly the best place to get started.

The Marketplace site will ask you basic questions about your income, your family size, where you live, and will provide an overview of the insurance options (both private and public) for which you qualify. But ultimately, you will have to make decisions based on your own needs, the needs of your family, and your budget.

Where can you get started?

Healthcare.gov will direct you to the Marketplace in your state, pretty seamlessly. It’s certainly the best place to get started. The Marketplace site will ask you basic questions about your income, your family size, where you live, etc. and will provide an overview of the insurance options (both private and public) for which you qualify. But ultimately, you will have to make decisions based on your own needs, the needs of your family, and your budget.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal insurance program available to those:

  • 65 years and older (whatever their income)
  • Younger than 65 years with a disability and have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for at least 24 months
  • Individuals of all ages who have end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure in need of dialysis or a transplant)

Medicare enrollees pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage.

If you’re covered under Medicare, the following are some important things to remember:

  • Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance Marketplace so, if you are already covered by Medicare, no action is needed.
  • Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 – December 7. During this time, all people who have Medicare can make changes to their health plans and prescription drug coverage. To find out how to make such changes, visit medicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
  • The good news is, if you’re on Medicare now, the ACA won’t affect your choices, and your benefits won’t be changing.
  • According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), no matter how you get Medicare, whether through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll still have the same benefits and security you have now, and you won’t have to make any changes.
  • Note: the Marketplace does not offer Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance or Part D prescription drug plans.

For more information on Medicare, including resources to help you compare coverage options and costs, check current enrollment, or enroll in coverage, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a state-based assistance program serving low-income people under the age of 65. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses, although a small co-payment may be required.

Each state sets its own guidelines regarding eligibility and services so you should contact your local Medicaid office directly. Contact the relevant benefit offices to set up any appointments or interviews needed to expedite the process.

Be aware of any deadlines or important documentation that you may need to provide and keep accurate records of everyone you are in contact with. If you are unsure of your eligibility, it is best to apply and have a caseworker or legal aid office review your application before submission.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided all states with the option to expand their Medicaid programs. Currently, 28 states have expanded their programs. For information regarding the Medicaid program in your state, you can call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-877-267-2323 or visit www.medicaid.gov.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

If an individual is under 18 years of age, they may qualify for coverage under their state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides health coverage to nearly 8 million children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private coverage.

Eligibility is determined by each state and is income and disability based. Each state’s CHIP or SCHIP program may have a different name. It is important to note that your child may qualify for SCHIP coverage even if denied Medicaid.

Children may also be eligible for some disability benefits from Supplemental Security Income.

Additionally, under the Affordable Care Act, many young adults are now able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26.

Resources

If you are looking for more information on insurance or have a specific question, our information specialists are available business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9am to 5pm ET.

Additionally, the Reeve Foundation maintains fact sheets on social security as well as Medicare and Medicaid with additional resources from trusted Reeve Foundation sources. Check out our repository of fact sheets on hundreds of topics ranging from state resources to secondary complications of paralysis.

We encourage you to reach out to the following organizations for more information:

So, you recognize you have a mental health condition and want to receive treatment for it but you don’t have any health insurance. Unfortunately, this is a reality for so many Americans living with mental illness. It is a struggle I know all too well. I had no health insurance for the entire year of 2016. It consequently lead to my mental illnesses worsening to the point that I ended up being hospitalized for depression. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available about how you can qualify or receive cost effective mental health care. I hope sharing this list of ways to receive mental health care without insurance will help those of you who need it to not end up in the same situation as me or worse.

Please take the information below as a guideline. Because healthcare is actively changing, not all information may be correct at your time of reading this.

1. See if you qualify for Medicaid/Medicare or a low-cost insurance plan.

The first thing I would do is go to Healthcare.gov and see what you qualify for. If you aren’t applying during the enrollment period, you will have to have had a “major life event” to apply such as giving birth, losing your job or moving.

One thing I did not know is you have to make around $12,000 a year (before taxes are taken out) to qualify for the tax incentive which will lower your monthly payment drastically. If you do not make that amount, you may qualify for other programs.

2. Go to a free clinic.

If you do not qualify for anything I have mentioned above, there is still hope for you to receive mental health care. Free clinics have amazing resources for those who do not have health insurance. You can search for a free clinic in your area by visiting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website.

3. Look for mental health providers with “sliding scale” payment.

Many mental health providers offer sliding scale payment arrangements. These providers will only make you pay what you can afford. You can search for sliding scale providers in your area by doing a simple web search or by calling The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) at this number: 1-800-950-NAMI.

4. Sign up for a program to help pay for your prescriptions.

There are many programs that will provide assistance in obtaining your medications. Walmart has a program where you can get your medication for only four dollars.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance also has a website that will help you get your medications by placing you in a program that you qualify for where your medications will be free or nearly free. Learn more about this program here.

Please remember if you ever have thoughts of harming yourself that you can contact The National Suicide Prevention Line free of charge at: 1-800-273-8255. You can also visit their online chat here.

Best of luck! Don’t stop searching and reaching out until you get the help you deserve.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741 .

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

How to get into rehab if you don't have insurance

Many people do not have the money or the insurance to pay for mental health services services. Here is a list of ways you can find care despite your lack of funds.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or TTY: 1-800-799-4889.

Suicide.org has a 24-hour email support for those who are feeling suicidal.

Finding a therapist or mental health center:

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a free clinic finder . Type in your zipcode and you will find clinics in your area.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources also has a listing of free clinics in your area. All you have to do is plug in your geographic location.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) may also provide information on where to find treatment or mental health care in your area. You may call them toll free at 1-800-950-NAMI or contact them through their website.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a national helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service, it is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

How to get financial help for prescription medications and antidepressants:

There is an organization called Needy Meds that may be able to give you assistance in obtaining your medications.

Mental Health America also has some ideas of how you can get your medications paid for when you don’t have the financial means.

You may also call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance with this toll free number: 1-888-477-2669 or you may access their website.

Mental health resources:

There are quite a few mental health resources out there to give you even more ideas and suggestions of how to obtain treatment, therapy, or medications when you are uninsured or have no money to pay for services:

These articles were written by a longtime HealthCentral community member who shared valuable insights from her experience living with multiple chronic health conditions. She used the pen name “Merely Me.”

How to get into rehab if you don't have insurance

Many people do not have the money or the insurance to pay for mental health services services. Here is a list of ways you can find care despite your lack of funds.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or TTY: 1-800-799-4889.

Suicide.org has a 24-hour email support for those who are feeling suicidal.

Finding a therapist or mental health center:

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a free clinic finder . Type in your zipcode and you will find clinics in your area.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources also has a listing of free clinics in your area. All you have to do is plug in your geographic location.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) may also provide information on where to find treatment or mental health care in your area. You may call them toll free at 1-800-950-NAMI or contact them through their website.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a national helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service, it is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

How to get financial help for prescription medications and antidepressants:

There is an organization called Needy Meds that may be able to give you assistance in obtaining your medications.

Mental Health America also has some ideas of how you can get your medications paid for when you don’t have the financial means.

You may also call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance with this toll free number: 1-888-477-2669 or you may access their website.

Mental health resources:

There are quite a few mental health resources out there to give you even more ideas and suggestions of how to obtain treatment, therapy, or medications when you are uninsured or have no money to pay for services:

These articles were written by a longtime HealthCentral community member who shared valuable insights from her experience living with multiple chronic health conditions. She used the pen name “Merely Me.”

How to get into rehab if you don't have insurance

One major aspect of medical treatment and attending a drug detox facility that holds addicts and alcoholics back from ever getting the help they need is concerns about the cost of treatment. Most insurance companies today have some level or insurance coverage for alcohol or drug detox and addiction treatment to curb that concern, but many addicts and alcoholics suffering do not have health insurance at all. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you can still get access to affordable alcohol and drug detox programs. Many detox facilities will work with you financially, and there are other kinds of programs and forms of funding out there that will assist you with getting into an alcohol and drug detox, even without insurance.

Private funding

One strategy in regards to finding a way into drug detox without insurance you might want to consider is paying for the drug detox program in cash. This can be done either in advance or over the course of the detox program period on a per-session basis, depending on what works best for you and the facility. Paying as you go offers the security of knowing that there will be no prolonged billing cycle once the drug detox process has been completed. However, if money is an issue you may also want to consider obtaining some form of private financing in order to pay for the stay at a drug detox. This way the recovering addict will not be forced to suspend treatment before it has been completed.

Private financing

Sometimes obtaining a loan from your financial institution can be the best alternative that can help you to cover the costs of drug detox when your insurance will not cover the treatment. Taking on an additional monthly payment is a small price to pay when compared to the benefits of a clean and sober life-style, especially when measured against the costs of using drugs on a regular basis, so drug detox is definitely the ideal way to invest in your future.

Apply for government grants

Depending upon where you live and the age of the addict or alcoholic looking for an affordable detox program, you may be eligible to apply for federal funding and grants to help pay for a drug and alcohol detox program. Smaller communities may offer similar programs, as well as offerings on the state level. And the best part is that a grant is not the same thing as a loan so, you don’t have to pay it back.

Yard Sale

Like my mom used to say, when all else fails- throw a yard sale. If you own a camper or boat, consider placing it on the market at a fair price to offset the cost of a drug detox program. If this seems a little intense, remember that the increased ability to work and make positive career advancements can always put you in a better position to where you can buy a new boat, camper, or even car if that’s what you have to sell.

Most important during this difficult time is to find a way to pay for drug detox because your health and your ability to defeat your addiction, with the help of trained professionals and medical staff, is the most important element. Many individuals possess something of value, even if they do not realize it. By searching your jewelry box for a few pieces of old gold or hand-me-down jewels, you may find that you have enough to pay for drug and alcohol detox, or at least begin the recovery process for you or a family member.

In some cases, selling one antique might raise enough funds to pay for an entire treatment program. Parting with an object of sentimental value can be difficult, but if you consider the positive effects that might come about from the sacrifice, the trade could be well worth it. Is your diamond ring more important than your life or the life of your child? When it comes to the life of a family member, no sacrifice is too great. And you have to wonder, if the addiction persists, how long before you sell that item anyway to get what you need? From the perspective of a recovering addict, no material object is worth the life that is possible in sobriety.

Drug and alcohol detox is an essential part of the path to an effective and lasting recovery, and even though most insurance providers cover drug and alcohol treatment, some addicts may not have insurance, and may think they cannot get the help they need. There are always alternatives to getting access to safe and empowering treatment if you are willing to look and take the necessary action to save your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

care you get in an inpatient rehabilitation facility or unit (sometimes called an inpatient “rehab” facility, IRF, acute care rehabilitation center, or rehabilitation hospital). Your doctor must certify that you have a medical condition that requires intensive rehabilitation, continued medical supervision, and coordinated care that comes from your doctors and therapists working together.

You pay this for each

  • Days 1-60: $1,364 deductible.*
  • Days 61-90: $341 coinsurance each day.
  • Days 91 and beyond: $682 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime).
  • Each day after the lifetime reserve days: All costs.

*You don’t have to pay a deductible for care you get in the inpatient rehabilitation facility if you were already charged a deductible for care you got in a prior hospitalization within the same benefit period. This is because your benefit period starts on day one of your prior hospital stay, and that stay counts towards your deductible. For example:

  • You’re transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility directly from an acute care hospital.
  • You’re admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation facility within 60 days of being discharged from a hospital.

Inpatient rehabilitation can help if you’re recovering from a serious surgery, illness, or injury and need an intensive rehabilitation therapy program, physician supervision, and your doctors and therapists working together to give you coordinated care.

  • Rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology
  • A semi-private room
  • Meals
  • Nursing services
  • Drugs
  • Other hospital services and supplies

Medicare doesn’t cover:

  • Private duty nursing
  • A phone or television in your room
  • Personal items, like toothpaste, socks, or razors (except when a hospital provides them as part of your hospital admission pack).
  • A private room, unless medically necessary

During the COVID-19 pandemic, inpatient rehabilitation facilities may accept you from an acute-care hospitals experiencing a surge, even if you don’t require rehabilitation care.

covers doctors’ services you get while you’re in an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

How to get into rehab if you don't have insurance

One major aspect of medical treatment and attending a drug detox facility that holds addicts and alcoholics back from ever getting the help they need is concerns about the cost of treatment. Most insurance companies today have some level or insurance coverage for alcohol or drug detox and addiction treatment to curb that concern, but many addicts and alcoholics suffering do not have health insurance at all. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you can still get access to affordable alcohol and drug detox programs. Many detox facilities will work with you financially, and there are other kinds of programs and forms of funding out there that will assist you with getting into an alcohol and drug detox, even without insurance.

Private funding

One strategy in regards to finding a way into drug detox without insurance you might want to consider is paying for the drug detox program in cash. This can be done either in advance or over the course of the detox program period on a per-session basis, depending on what works best for you and the facility. Paying as you go offers the security of knowing that there will be no prolonged billing cycle once the drug detox process has been completed. However, if money is an issue you may also want to consider obtaining some form of private financing in order to pay for the stay at a drug detox. This way the recovering addict will not be forced to suspend treatment before it has been completed.

Private financing

Sometimes obtaining a loan from your financial institution can be the best alternative that can help you to cover the costs of drug detox when your insurance will not cover the treatment. Taking on an additional monthly payment is a small price to pay when compared to the benefits of a clean and sober life-style, especially when measured against the costs of using drugs on a regular basis, so drug detox is definitely the ideal way to invest in your future.

Apply for government grants

Depending upon where you live and the age of the addict or alcoholic looking for an affordable detox program, you may be eligible to apply for federal funding and grants to help pay for a drug and alcohol detox program. Smaller communities may offer similar programs, as well as offerings on the state level. And the best part is that a grant is not the same thing as a loan so, you don’t have to pay it back.

Yard Sale

Like my mom used to say, when all else fails- throw a yard sale. If you own a camper or boat, consider placing it on the market at a fair price to offset the cost of a drug detox program. If this seems a little intense, remember that the increased ability to work and make positive career advancements can always put you in a better position to where you can buy a new boat, camper, or even car if that’s what you have to sell.

Most important during this difficult time is to find a way to pay for drug detox because your health and your ability to defeat your addiction, with the help of trained professionals and medical staff, is the most important element. Many individuals possess something of value, even if they do not realize it. By searching your jewelry box for a few pieces of old gold or hand-me-down jewels, you may find that you have enough to pay for drug and alcohol detox, or at least begin the recovery process for you or a family member.

In some cases, selling one antique might raise enough funds to pay for an entire treatment program. Parting with an object of sentimental value can be difficult, but if you consider the positive effects that might come about from the sacrifice, the trade could be well worth it. Is your diamond ring more important than your life or the life of your child? When it comes to the life of a family member, no sacrifice is too great. And you have to wonder, if the addiction persists, how long before you sell that item anyway to get what you need? From the perspective of a recovering addict, no material object is worth the life that is possible in sobriety.

Drug and alcohol detox is an essential part of the path to an effective and lasting recovery, and even though most insurance providers cover drug and alcohol treatment, some addicts may not have insurance, and may think they cannot get the help they need. There are always alternatives to getting access to safe and empowering treatment if you are willing to look and take the necessary action to save your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

How to get into rehab if you don't have insurance

As the number of people diagnosed with mental health issues such as depression rises to new highs, the need for medical services to treat them is growing too. Approximately 56 percent of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. There’s also evidence of a dire lack of treatment among teens, with the CDC reporting that the suicide rate for teens is skyrocketing.

Related

health More teens are attempting suicide. It’s not clear why.

Why aren’t people getting the help they need? The answer is complicated. On one hand there’s the lingering stigma around mental illness that may hinder people from seeking care (a problem that campaigns like Mental Health Awareness Month aim to solve), but there’s also the fact that our health care system has yet to treat mental health as comprehensively as it does physical health. There’s no such thing as an insurance-covered annual mental health exam for instance, and therapists who do accept insurance are often working twice as hard just to get reimbursed by providers.

Having been through the ringer trying to not only find a therapist who accepts my insurance, but is also taking new clients, I’d just about given up on my personal quest for affordable services. Fortunately, after talking with a number of experts in the field, I’ve learned there a multiple ways to get the care I need without going broke in the process.

Seek in-network first — if you don’t have healthcare, turn to Federally Qualified Health Centers

“People with health insurance should begin their journey to wellness on their health plan’s website. Health plans may manage their mental health benefits internally, or outsource them to a vendor. The health plan or vendor will specify the mental healthcare providers that are covered, any associated costs, and any benefit limitations,” says Dr. Adam C. Powell, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate. “In many cases, health plans are required to offer comparable coverage for mental and physical healthcare coverage by the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). When MHPAEA applies, the financial requirements, quantitative treatment limitations, and non-quantitative treatment limitations applied to mental health benefits may not differ from those that are applied to physical health benefits.”

If insurance is not obtainable, Powell adds, you may seek help at a local social services agency, a student health center (if a student) or a Federally Qualified Health Center (aka, community-based healthcare centers that are government funded).

Sonya Veytsman, LCSW, suggests reaching out to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). “They have a helpline that offers free help 24/7. All you need to do is text NAMI to 741741.”

Avoid visiting the ER if possible, not only because you’ll likely get stuck with a huge bill, but because the ER, in Powell’s estimation, “is not designed to work with people to improve their mental health over time. Care should only be sought at an emergency department in the event of an urgent crisis.”

By: Kate Kershner | Updated: Feb 12, 2021

How to get into rehab if you don't have insurance

Ah, you’ve found the loophole! There’s so much talk about how terrible consumer protection is in regards to insurance and the entire health care system in the United States, that we’ve overlooked the amazingly simple fix. Just don’t buy insurance, and waltz into the ER every time you need an antibiotic or want that checkup. Those docs have to treat you or be stripped of their license under some Hippocratic Oath, right? You’ve entirely scammed the system!

So it turns out, that loophole has been found, stitched up, covered with concrete and surrounded by bulletproof glass. The health care industry has been happy to charge for treatment and medicine since darn near the beginning of time, whether it’s an emergency or not. If you don’t have insurance to cover the cost of a visit, the joke really is on you: You’re responsible for the bill. Period.

Now if you’re looking back and forth in horror between the bloody stump where your hand used to be and your empty bank account, please take heed: You should absolutely go to the emergency room, even if you don’t have thousands of dollars need to pay for treatment. While hospitals, providers and the like will still charge you, they’re not going to run a credit report or ask for a down payment before care.

In fact, the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is designed to guarantee a person’s right to receive emergency treatment, regardless of if they can pay or not [source: CMS]. It basically says that if you need emergency medicine, you must be treated at any emergency room, to the best of the staff’s ability, until you’re in stable condition for transfer. It’s also designed to make sure that private hospitals aren’t “dumping” uninsured or Medicaid patients on public hospitals, by transferring folks before treatment.

So sure: You’ll get treated at an ER, regardless of insurance. But that doesn’t mean that you can walk out without a bruise in the wallet. Remember that if you have insurance, a hospital or provider charges your insurance company for your visit. The insurance company pays whatever your plan specifies, and you are responsible for whatever balance is leftover. Without insurance? You’re just looking at the whole of the bill, and it can be a whopper. And do remember that the cost of treatment and procedures varies wildly from hospital to hospital [source: Caldwell et al.].

Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, fewer Americans are walking into the ER without insurance. But if you’re still a holdout, do know that you’re still going to have to pay your bill, although the ACA does have provisions that ensures hospitals only use things like liens or wage garnishing after they make a patient aware of available assistance [source: Brino].