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How To Get Help For Substance Abuse Without Insurance

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

January 29, 2019

Many individuals who suffer from substance abuse or addiction may find themselves unable to seek treatment because they do not have insurance. There are a variety of rehab programs, however, that offer treatment through scholarships, on a sliding scale basis, or at little to no cost. It is important to be aware of all options before deciding on the best treatment plan.

Drug abuse affects millions of Americans every year. For the nearly 21.5 million Americans who suffered from a substance use disorder in 2014, it can be very tough to afford recovery treatments and services. Long-term drug abuse can wreak havoc on your entire life, with finances being one of the most damaged areas. The need to pay for drugs becomes a priority over food and insurance and can develop into an unmanageable amount of debt.

But what do you or a loved one do if the only thing keeping you from getting help and entering an inpatient rehab center is the financial burden? Money shouldn’t be the obstacle keeping you or a loved one from treating your substance abuse and regaining the life you deserve. There are many ways you can receive addiction treatment without having insurance or savings in the bank.

The Different Types Of Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

As you begin looking into drug abuse treatment centers, you will find that there are many types of treatment available. It’s important now to choose the right one for your needs and your budget. The centers with the most amenities will be the most expensive.

  • Long-term rehab centers typically last 60 days or more and are considered the best kind of treatment available. Patients live in the recovery center for the length of their treatment, which is best environment for healing from addiction.
  • Short-term treatment centers are typically 28-30 days long and may offer inpatient living.
  • Luxury treatment facilities offer residential addiction treatment services, providing 24/7 services to patients. They may also offer upscale amenities like spas and acupuncture.
  • Executive centers also provide residential services but, unlike luxury facilities, they are more flexible and accommodate busy, working professionals.
  • Standard treatment centers are the most common and offer both inpatient and outpatient services.
  • State-funded programs require little to no funds from the patient. They offer little to none of the same amenities as luxury treatment centers and are simple but effective in technique.

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For those without insurance, state-funded treatment programs are going to be the most affordable option. While they may not be the most innovative, treatment is much better than no treatment at all, and they can offer amazing results for patients. Here are additional pros and cons of state-funded programs:


  • Little to no cost to patients
  • Substance abuse treatment from addiction specialists
  • Community support from other patients and therapists


  • Many state-funded facilities have long waitlists for patients because they are so popular due to affordability.
  • Due to the nature of state-funded centers and their long waiting list, some patients may be discharged before a comprehensive treatment program has been concluded.
  • State-funded centers have limited budgets so they may not be able to provide patients with the most up-to-date treatments available.
  • Some patients prefer to attend a center farther away from home to avoid encountering someone they know. State-funded centers in locations of your choosing may be more difficult to get into.

State-funded treatment centers remain a great option for those without insurance, but they aren’t the only option you have for getting the addiction treatment you need.

Financing Options

Financing options are great if you or a loved one needs to get treatment right away and you don’t want to wait until a state-funded program opens up. Financing works by applying for a loan from a bank and then paying off the cost of treatment after you’ve finished the program. Many financing options won’t require you to start making payments until six months after completing the rehab program when you’ve had enough time to find a job and afford the payments.

Sliding Scale Payment Options

If you don’t have insurance but don’t want to apply for a loan and have to pay off debt from the treatment, you can look for addiction centers that work with your budget on a sliding scale and customize a payment plan based on your income. This option requires you to have a certain amount of money in the bank or to be making a certain amount of money at the time of treatment.

Apply For Scholarships

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has grants you can apply for on their website that can help pay for drug or alcohol substance abuse recovery if you don’t have the funds or insurance to cover treatment. Be sure to read through the grant application requirements on the website to see if you qualify. If you don’t, call around to the treatment centers near you and ask if they offer scholarship opportunities for patients without insurance.

Subsidizing Coverage

Low-income men and women suffering from substance abuse may be able to obtain subsidized coverage which covers the cost of addiction treatment and offers reduced premiums through financial assistance for those who make less than a certain amount of money per year.

Ask Family And Friends To Invest In You

It may be uncomfortable going to family and friends for help in paying for substance abuse treatment, but it is always worth asking. Chances are, loved ones will be thrilled that you are seeking help for your substance abuse and will want to help in any way they can to ensure you take advantage of the opportunity to recover.

Raise Money

You can always begin a savings account for treatment by selling your personal items like clothing, unused household appliances and furniture, electronics, etc. If you can’t afford to lose some of these items, it may be possible to ask for donations by creating a campaign on a website like GoFundMe and explain your story. You can reach a wider audience and may be able to receive funds from good samaritans who want to help you achieve a better life.

No-Cost Tips For Helping To Treat Substance Abuse

There are many options for receiving the substance abuse treatment you need without having health insurance. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but you will find that there are so many people out there who want nothing more than to help you receive the care you need. In addition to finding ways to pay for addiction treatment, there are cost-free ways to help someone cope and recover from substance abuse.

  • Avoid high-risk situations
  • Exercise
  • Seek supportive relationships
  • Ask family members and friends to set boundaries
  • Relax with soothing activities and meditation
  • Practice self-love and acceptance
  • Be honest with yourself about your addiction

Don’t Let A Lack Of Finances Or Insurance Keep You From Getting Treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, a lack of finances shouldn’t be the only thing holding you back from your recovery. If you would like some assistance with figuring out how you can get help paying for addiction treatment, contact us today at We have an extensive database of addiction centers across the country and can help guide you on your way to the treatment that works best for your needs.

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