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Does Medicare Cover Addiction Treatment?

There is frequently some question about what Medicare does and does not cover. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether substance abuse treatment services, such as inpatient or outpatient rehab, is covered under Medicare.

Does Medicare cover addiction treatment?

The short answer is yes, although with some stipulations. Treatment for substance abuse and other addictions is covered under Medicare’s coverage of mental health care, and the reimbursement falls under the mental health care benefit schedule.

Medicare will help cover inpatient and outpatient treatment for drug and alcohol addiction if each of the following three criteria are met:

  • You receive your medical services from a Medicare-approved provider or facility
  • That doctor deems the services to be medically necessary
  • That doctor puts together a treatment plan for you to follow

How much of the treatment it covers may vary. Medical Part A can cover any inpatient drug and alcohol treatment, such as hospital meals, nursing, the room, and other applicable services. Your out-of-pocket costs will be the same as they would be for any other hospital stay.

If this treatment is to be received in a psychiatric hospital, be aware that Medicare will only cover 190 days of psychiatric hospital treatment in an entire lifetime. This is only applicable to standalone psychiatric hospitals. If a person reaches their lifetime limit, their mental health care treatment can still be covered if they receive it in a general hospital. There is no limit on treatments days in psychiatric wards of general hospitals.

Medical Part B covers outpatient therapies, lab tests, and some specific services provided by inpatient or outpatient substance abuse professionals. It will cover the cost of diagnosis by a Medicare-participating professional, the establishment of a treatment plan, and any necessary physician follow-up care. Outpatient prescription drugs can only be covered under a Part D plan through a formula or exception process.

The way the Medicare program works, it does not cover a defined number of services. Instead, it will cover a portion of the total health care cost. Currently that portion is set at 65 percent of the approved amount for mental health care services. That may include services for drug and alcohol addiction treatment, as long as the services are deemed reasonable and concur with Medicare’s standard of what is medically necessary. You or your supplemental insurance provider will be required to pay the final 35 percent.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or finding an alcohol detox, call today (877) 548-0193.


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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