How to Get Into Drug and Alcohol Rehab Without Insurance?

Getting into rehab without insurance can be a daunting task, but it is possible with a little bit of effort. It is a question that I have been asked time and time again.  Although to an addict it may feel like money is the root of all troubles, in fact, it is the addiction.

When you or your loved one is ready to rip the weed of addiction out by the root, lack of money or insurance does not have to stop you. In this article, I will lay out many options available for you to access drug or alcohol rehab at a low-cost or sometimes even free!

Remember that treatment is the key to success, not money. Wanting to get that treatment -- wanting to get clean from drugs or alcohol -- will make the difference between not getting help, or finding the help you need and successfully ripping addiction out of your life by the root. Success is driven by need, not money.

Rehab Without Insurance Uplifting Quote

Learning Objectives:


In this article, you will find a complete guide on how to get into a rehab without insurance. 

Part 1: Beginning the Search to Find Low-Cost Drug and Alcohol Rehab.

Learn about inpatient services, outpatient services, and peer support group services. This section will also talk about national service locators to help you find drug rehab.

Part 2: Where to Find Completely Free Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs.

Learn about national programs available throughout the United States that offer completely free drug rehab, with no insurance needed. We will discuss the websites that you can go to find these programs as well as scholarship programs that you can apply for to pay for private drug rehab.

Part 3: How to Obtain Health Insurance to Pay For Drug and Alcohol Rehab.

In this section you will learn about the new Affordable Care Act and how drug rehab benefits are affected. You will also learn about the health insurance plans with the best drug and alcohol rehab benefits. It will take patience to get into rehab without insurance, but with these insurance hacks you can speed up the process!

Part 4: Help Share This Information.

People rely on information like this to help them make important decisions. If you found this to be helpful for yourself or a loved one then please share it. You will be helping someone who needs it!

-Marco Sterling

Part 1: Beginning the Search to Find Low-Cost Drug and Alcohol Rehab.

No one belongs in the population of untreated addicts, but it is huge. In 2013, around 22 million Americans were in need of substance abuse treatment in a rehab setting, but only about 2.5 million people actually received it, according to government statistics.

Left untreated, these individuals and their loved ones often face the spiraling and tragic circumstances leading to drug overdoses and deaths.

But it doesn't have to be like that for you. Every state in the U.S. has a huge number of low-cost and/or free drug/alcohol rehab options. They are in existence for the single purpose of helping people get over their addictions.

The driving goals of these programs are to help their patients win the fight against drug addiction and learn to make healthy life decisions. They also help to reset people's  lives back onto a healthy track and then set them out as happy, productive people.

Finding Low-Cost Drug or Alcohol Rehab Without Insurance.

For people that need to get into rehab without insurance, finding the right treatment is often overwhelming. There are free national service locators available online to help with your search.

But first, understanding what treatments are available is very important because drug rehab services fall into a few basic categories:

Inpatient Services:

Patients are required to live at an inpatient facility 24/7 for the full term of treatment, typically 30-90 days.

This option is better for those in need of medical supervision during detox, wanting to remove themselves from current temptations and distractions. Offered by government, non-profit, and private organizations, inpatient services typically include (at the minimum):

  • ​Detoxification in a safe, medically-supervised environment.
  • Administration of medication as necessary or required.
  • Therapy in one on one and group sessions.

Outpatient Services:

Already past the detox stage, outpatients generally receive treatment during the day and are allowed to go home at night.

The focus of outpatient services is typically therapy to help the patient focus on recovery and freedom from substance abuse. Offered by government, non-profit, and private organizations, common types of rehab therapy in outpatient facilities include:

  • ​Cognitive behavioral therapy -- This is helpful guidance for avoiding or coping with situations that may trigger drug abuse.
  • Motivational Incentives -- motivates drug abstinence through positive reinforcement.
  • Motivational Interviewing -- Understanding the patient's motivations for seeking treatment as a guide for eliminating motivations for using drugs
  • Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy -- Provides guidance for creating and/or improving functional family relationships

Peer Support Group Services:

Attending meetings for peer support groups offers assistance to rehab patients who are further on the path of recovery. Meetings are usually free and offer a safe, friendly place to get support and help for daily challenges.

Having others to lean on can help reduce feelings of "going it alone," especially when the others have more experience and know the right ways to encourage you. The more well-known and widely available peer support groups in the US are non-profit, and include:



National Service Locators for Drug and Alcohol Rehab:

  • The U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) -- also known as the "Treatment Referral Routing Service" -- is a free and confidential 24/7 information service in English and Spanish. It is offered for individuals and family members with substance abuse and/or mental health issues.

    The SAMHSA National Helpline provides referrals for local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Free publications and other information can also be ordered.
  • SAMHSA Website-- An online national directory of professional substance abuse treatment programs and services to assist rehab seekers.
SAMHSA.com Screenshot - Finding Rehab without Insurance

While the SAMHSA locator is the most widely utilized website to help people get into rehab without insurance, a few other national service locators are available:

Part 2: Where to find completely free drug or alcohol rehab programs?

The most widely recognized and widely available treatment centers offering free drug rehabilitation services are owned and operated by the Salvation Army. According to 2015 Service Statistics, in the past year, the Salvation Army had a total of 7,619 centers of operations, and assisted over 27,167,000 people in need.

Not every center of operation specifically handles rehab, but every center works in conjunction with each other to provide a full range of advantages for every center, including drug rehab.​

Salvation Army Harbor Light Centers ​get people into rehab without insurance. This includes drug and alcohol detox services, inpatient treatment, transitional housing, and outpatient treatment for both men and women.

Detoxification Services offered include 24-hours a day medical intervention for patients with severe physical distress from withdrawal symptoms. The facility is fully state-licensed and -certified, and supervised by a professional, licensed physician.

To enter this treatment, just call in and do a phone interview. An appointment will be set for a personal assessment. The physician will see you and estimate the time you will require for detoxification.

A follow-up assessment is completed after detox, and a plan for additional treatment services is determined to ensure a fully successful recovery.

Rehab quote for those without insurance - Don't lose hope

After the detox stage, the typical treatment plan at a Harbor Light Center is six months. Treatment programs include:

  • ​Counseling - both individual and group settings
  • Continuing education programs
  • Grief management skills.
  • Anger management skills.
  • Money management training.
  • Training for independent living.
  • Employment training and internships.

For example, the Harbor Light Center in Chicago, in operation for over 70 years, is one of the largest Salvation Army substance abuse rehab centers in the United States.

The center provides "intensive substance abuse treatment and follows up with support during the critical period as clients reintegrate into the mainstream community."

Check out this YouTube video explained by a former Salvation Army client:​

State or Government-funded resources to access drug and alcohol rehab without insurance?

State-funded drug and alcohol rehab facilities assist people who are living in poverty, have low incomes, or don't have health insurance. These detox clinics and rehab centers, also known as state-sponsored drug rehabilitation centers, are fully funded by the state.

While they may not be as comfortable as expensive, private facilities, they nevertheless offer eligible patients the rehab services they need at no charge. 

The funding that these programs are granted may vary widely from state to state, but they are fully licensed and certified, and the specialists provide professional, highly experienced care.

Qualifying for state-funded rehab is different from state to state. However, typical requirements include:​

  • Proof of where you live.
  • Proof of your income status.
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or legal resident status.
  • Personal information about your history and degree of addiction.​

Once this information is provided, qualification can be verified. Then the appropriate treatment services are verified and enrollment in a specific center takes place.

Unfortunately, some state-funded recovery programs may have waiting lists taking up to six months. An additional drawback may be the number of patients who are not really motivated to achieve total recovery, but may otherwise be homeless.

Also, you might not be offered yoga or other trendy programs offered in private "luxury" rehab centers, but tried-and-trusted methods are available and have proven success rates for patients determined to kick their addictions.​

The easiest way to locate your nearest state-funded facility is to start with the SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or online​ national directory 404

What about scholarships to help access private drug and alcohol rehab programs?

If you want to get into a private rehab without insurance then you can consider applying for a drug or alcohol rehab scholarship.

Just as with an education scholarship, there are many ways to receive a drug or alcohol rehab scholarship for a private facility. When a for-profit facility is not operating at full capacity, the cost of an empty bed represents lost revenue.

Independent facilities often offer treatment at greatly reduced cost to people with hardship cases. Sometimes this is done in-house, and other times through referrals to third-party organizations who cover the treatment costs for a person in need. This way, the facility stays full, provides help to more people, and often receives a tax write-off.

There are several alternatives for finding a rehab scholarship. First, it's worth keeping in mind that many rehab facility owners were once addicts themselves. Many are interested in "giving back" to their community by helping others who are unable to help themselves.​

According to DrugRehab.org, ​the following steps can be successful for locating drug and/or alcohol rehab scholarships:

  • ​Use an online treatment locator (such as SAMHSA) to create a list of facilities matching your preferences. 
  • Ask a friend or family member to help you keep track of the information you collect on each facility.
  • Contact each facility's intake office to first learn if they provide financial aid, such as scholarships or grants.
  • Ask right up front if scholarships are available to cover treatment for under- or uninsured people.
  • Be ready to answer questions about your income, employment status, insurance coverages, etc.
  • Share your motivation and goals for your recovery. Your positive attitude can make a huge difference!
  • Even if your health insurance covers only a percentage of treatment, or detox only, let them know. They may decide to cover the balance.

Contacting or paying a visit to one or more facilities you are interested in getting help from will give you a chance to discuss your full situation. They may be able to help faster than you imagine.

If they use third-party organizations to help potential patients in need of financial assistance, they may give you a referral, and you should follow-up with it immediately.

Another type of drug and alcohol rehab scholarship comes from the Sobriety Optimization League (SOL) Scholarship Foundation. This is a not-for-profit organization in Utah. They help financially disadvantaged people to find successful sober living facilities after detox and inpatient drug or alcohol rehab.​

​Applying for an SOL scholarship typically involves a lengthy selection process. Applicants must be un- or under-insured, completed detox, and spent at least 30 days in an inpatient residential treatment center.

They must show their commitment to clean living, and their primary counselor must provide a recommendation. Then SOL arranges for the applicant to receive an initial screening, undergo a review by a clinical committee, and complete an in-person interview.

Drug Rehab Without Insurance Quote - Dreams don't work unless you do.

Part 3: How to Obtain Health Insurance to Pay for Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Obamacare, also known as the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), recognizes treatment for substance abuse disorders as one of the top ten essential health benefits for Americans. Every health insurance policy bought under the ACA is legally required to include services for substance abuse disorders.

Although the media has propagated a great deal of confusion about Obamacare, getting health insurance in the US now is very easy. More people than ever before are obtaining lower health care costs and finding far more health care choices for the treatments they need, including rehab.

Getting into a rehab without insurance is difficult. If you have the means to do so financially, it might make sense to obtain a private health insurance plan first. After you are covered, use the benefits to try to find a private rehab center that is covered under your health insurance plan.

Are there any disqualifiers? What if I have a pre-existing condition?

Pre-existing conditions, including substance abuse, are covered under Obamacare. It is illegal for people with pre-existing conditions to be denied, spending limits aren’t allowed, and coverage for the treatment of all pre-existing conditions begins on the first day that your coverage is activated!

Similar to Medicaid/Medicare benefits for drug and alcohol rehab, the following types of treatment are covered:

  • Screenings
  • Intervention.
  • Maintenance and craving medications.
  • Family counseling.
  • Inpatient drug and/or alcohol rehab.
  • Long-term residential treatment.
  • Drug and/or alcohol detox.
  • Outpatient visits.
  • Other mental health services.

How do income levels effect my eligibility?

Generally speaking, anyone whose income is above the minimum level of $15,930 (for 2016) is eligible for Obamacare health insurance. If your eligibility for Medicaid is clear when you sign up for Obamacare, your application will be automatically forwarded to Medicaid.

All of the health insurance plans provide varying coverage for rehab, and each will require varying monthly premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses you must pay.

However, only a Silver plan has added discounts like tax credits and other savings for anyone on a low income. I experimented with several financial/family scenarios and the premiums can be very affordable after eligible discounts are applied.

According to GetInsured.com, your income information will be verified against IRS data. If the income you report doesn't match up, or is much lower than in past years, or you didn't file a recent tax return, the government will flag your enrollment for income review.

Do not fear, this won't stop your sign-up process. You can still enroll, qualify for tax credits and savings, and choose your health insurance plan.

Keep in mind that your health insurance will not be active until your first monthly premium is paid, but your coverage, even for drug rehab, begins on the first day of activation. You will have health insurance coverage for at least 90 days while your income is verified.

Check out this YouTube video on "How to save on out-of-pocket costs with a silver plan."

Tips for Qualifying for Lower Health Insurance Costs.

  • Use all available discounts -- The closer your income is to the minimum level, the more savings and tax credits you will qualify for. For example, in the income range of $15,930 - $39,825 a year, the closer your income falls to the lower range, the higher your tax credit will be, lowering your monthly premium, co-pays, and total deductibles. But remember, this is only true if you choose a plan in the Silver category when you enroll.
  • Use your parents policy -- One additional, and particularly important, advantage of ObamaCare is that children can continue (or obtain) health coverage on their parent's health plan up to the age of 26.  SAMHSA statistics indicate that almost 7% of all 18 to 25 year olds have a substance abuse disorder. This newly expanded benefit for drug rehab is providing more help than ever before for young people struggling with addiction. 
healthcare.gov screenshot

Don't Miss the Open Enrollment Period.

There is an open enrollment period every year to sign up for Obamacare. To sign up for 2016, you will have to move quick -- pick up the phone and call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or go online to Healthcare.gov. The very last day you can sign up is January 31, 2016.

There are other ways to enroll after the enrollment period ends. For example, turning 26, having a baby, or moving to a new state.

Also, if your enrollment application indicates you are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), your application will be forwarded automatically and a representative will contact you to complete the enrollment.

Drug Rehab Without Insurance Quote - Stay positive, stay focused, stay strong!

Part 4: Help share this Information!

The path to recovery from drug abuse and addiction is never the same for everyone. But the opportunities for success are not limited by money or insurance for those who are determined to be free from addiction.

Hopefully, you are feeling more encouraged about the options and opportunities available to you for getting into rehab without insurance.

Learning how to cope with life's situations in healthy ways will develop positive new habits and prevent relapses into old, negative behaviors. Drug rehab will teach you how to pull addiction out of your life from the root.

If you or your loved one is "on board" with the idea of drug rehab, please take advantage of this positive motivation. Explore the many resources available and call about treatment today.



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-Marco Sterling



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Marco Sterling

I am a former mid-level advertising executive who had the unfortunate experience with drug and alcohol abuse. My experience nearly ruined my life, but in going through that I realized how precious life really is. My aim is to help many people that are going through what I went through and I hope you find the value in the resources provided through this site.