Paying for treatment

If you have insurance

Call the number on the back of your card or on your insurer’s website and ask about coverage for substance abuse.

You’ll likely have a deductible, a specific amount of money you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket before your benefits start covering costs. Find out how much that deductible is and how much you’ve already paid towards it for the year. Any medical expense, not just treatment, can count towards that total.

Then, ask your insurer for a list of preferred facilities or providers in your area. Choosing from this list will help prevent unexpected costs down the line, because your insurance will be more willing to cover the services you receive.

Just as with other kinds of medical care, you may have a co-pay, a small amount of money you need to pay upfront to the providers or facilities you visit. Find out how much that is, as well as how many appointments or days of treatment are covered per year.

You can also ask your insurer if they have case managers. A case manager is a registered nurse, social worker, or other licensed healthcare provider who can work with you directly. Their services are usually covered by the cost you’re already paying to your insurance. They’ll help you evaluate your options and choose what makes the most medical and financial sense.

It can take multiple calls to figure this information out, and these can be difficult conversations to have. If you have a trusted family member or friend who can help, there is a way your insurer can authorize them to make decisions on your behalf. Ask your insurer for more details about how to set this up.

(Page published: October 2019)