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Alcohol Addiction Help: Finding Ways to Pay for Treatment

Excessive drinking cost the United States more than $200 billion in 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at the agency found that more than 70 percent of these costs resulted from workplace productivity losses. Other costs came primarily from healthcare, criminal justice and motor accident expenses. As per the National Library of Medicine, about 6.5 million American workers suffer from alcoholism, which often results in loss of profits, productivity and competitiveness for many businesses.

While alcohol addiction has a significant cost on society, it also takes a notable toll on an addict’s personal finances. For example, an addict who drinks two six-packs of beer three times a week at home likely spends more than $100 a month and $1,200 a year on this addiction. If the individual drinks at bars, he’s likely spending much more since the average beer at a bar or restaurant costs between $4 and $12; as a result, the same two six-packs of beer would cost anywhere from $48 to $144 a night. Alcoholics also typically have problems at work. They may arrive late or miss work due to the aftereffects of drinking. This can result in being fired from their jobs or losing out on promotions that could increase their incomes.

Over time, many alcoholics develop significant health issues as a result of their addictions. In fact, those with an alcoholic family member spend twice as much on healthcare expenses annually, according to NLM. Furthermore, alcoholics may also get into trouble with the law by driving while under the influence. The national average DUI arrest costs $10,000 in legal and court fees, as reported by DrivingLaws.org. A DUI arrest can also result in higher car insurance premiums. Some addicts may even get into motor accidents as a result of their alcohol addictions, which can result in more serious charges such as vehicular manslaughter.

Public Assistance With Treatment Costs

Alcohol addiction help may be costly; however, various programs exist that assist low-income earning individuals in paying for rehabilitation. These facilities may be partially or fully funded by the government and provide a number of beds for low-income addicts at a low cost or at no charge. Many of these facilities sacrifice the quality of treatment and have long waiting lists; however, they’re an option for those who need alcohol addiction help but can’t afford to pay for rehabilitation.

Another good option for low-income individuals who need help paying for substance abuse treatment is to apply for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. This grant provides financial assistance to pay for rehabilitation and is offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To qualify, addicts must need financial assistance, have an alcohol or drug dependency, be a parent or primary guardian of a child or children under the age of 19, be pregnant, or have a family or household member who’s pregnant.

Certain states may also offer their own financial assistance programs to help pay substance abuse treatment costs. In some states, individuals undergoing substance abuse treatment may qualify for disability insurance benefits for 30 to 90 days, which may be used to help pay for treatment. Those who receive Medicare benefits typically qualify for 190 days of inpatient mental healthcare in their lifetime. Similarly, those who receive Medicaid benefits may qualify for a portion or all of their alcohol treatment costs to be covered by their benefits; however, this will vary from state to state. Veterans may be eligible to receive treatment by the Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program. To qualify, veterans must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system.

Private Methods of Funding Treatment

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, about 84 percent of Americans have private health insurance, and the majority of these healthcare policies offer partial or full coverage for drug and alcohol treatment. Additionally, all policies purchased under Healthcare.gov provide some coverage for in-patient substance abuse treatment, although the number of days offered annually may vary.

Those without health insurance or with a policy that doesn’t cover substance abuse treatment may also want to consider financing options, such as taking out a loan. Similar to applying for a car or mortgage loan, the majority of individuals with good credit and regular income will likely qualify for a loan to pay for drug or alcohol addiction help. Many facilities also provide a variety of payment methods, such as paying for rehabilitation on a monthly basis, which may be a viable option for those with regular income.

Other options to consider include borrowing money from family, partners or friends to pay for substance abuse treatment. Many companies also offer employee financial assistance for substance abuse facilities. Those who are employed may want to ask their manager, boss or human resources department whether their employer’s company offers this type of assistance. Some may even want to consider selling personal belongings like a car or boat, or use funds from their retirement savings accounts to pay for rehabilitation.

Many nonprofit organizations, such as Second Chance, offer financial assistance to help pay for rehab. These rehab scholarships work similar to educational scholarships and require an application process. A number of rehabilitation centers offer their own scholarships for individuals who need financial assistance in paying for help. The best way to find out about these options is to contact a facility and ask whether they offer any type of rehab scholarship.

Although getting alcohol addiction help may be costly, the financial and emotional burden of alcoholism over a lifetime is likely far more expensive and detrimental to a person’s life and health. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction or another substance abuse problem, please call the substance abuse hotline at 844-806-6511 to find out more on how to get help.


Our articles are written by individuals who have seen addiction up close. They may have watched addiction take a toll on someone they loved or had their own battles with substances, and they write for us to spare others some of that pain and confusion. If you find these writings useful and would like to speak to someone who gets addiction, call us at (844) 826-1700.

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