family members calculating the cost of rehab expenses

The Inpatient vs. Outpatient Cost Comparison

Coming to terms with a drug or alcohol problem for yourself or a family member is a highly sensitive subject. When a person realizes they need help for drug or alcohol addiction, it can be a scary process. Most people facing an addiction problem feel helpless, alone and unsure of where to turn.

What can seem even more daunting is looking at the costs associated with finding and enlisting in a professional addiction treatment center.

Understanding the options for inpatient rehab vs. outpatient rehab can make the journey to recovery seem less overwhelming. Naturally one of the most important pieces in choosing the program that is right for you is to understand what how much your treatment will cost.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on how involved you need it to be as well as what resources you feel best to fit your needs. This can play a role in the cost of treatment as more in-depth and involved therapies require more time and thus cost more.

Knowing the difference between these treatment options will help you understand the costs associated with each.

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient drug rehab is a way to receive treatment that does not require staying in a facility. This type of rehab allows you to stay in your own home, go to work or school as usual and continue doing the things you do every day. The way outpatient rehab works is you attend regular therapy, educational and counseling sessions or visits to your treatment center.

Typically, outpatient programs come into play after a person has gone through an inpatient program to help keep them regimented and on a good routine. However, according to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, about 81% of treatment facilities offer outpatient programs, which allow for more flexibility with lower costs but also run a higher risk of relapse as well as the dropout.

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient drug rehab is a more intensive form of treatment where individuals stay inside of a treatment facility for an extended amount of time. This is a more costly option as the treatment center provides the person with room accomodations, 24-hour monitoring, medical attention, food, bedding, supervision and a daily curriculum.

This type of treatment can be beneficial and most effective for those who may need more focus and to stay occupied around the clock. In house treatment centers provide a much more hands-on approach to recovery and are tailored to create new environments and daily life atmospheres that are conducive to recovery.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Rehabilitation

  • If detoxification is necessary as this is an added expense.
  • For outpatient rehab treatment, it depends on how many meetings per week you’ll be attending, the level of counseling needed, hours per week that you’ll be visiting the center.
  • For inpatient rehab treatment the length of stay and type of accommodations, as well as amenities, will greatly affect cost.
  • Geographical location plays a role is the cost of treatment.

How Much Does Rehab Cost?

The ranges for how much rehab costs is broken down by inpatient vs. outpatient:

Inpatient Care Options

  • Basic low-cost, 30-day residential rehab – $2,000 – $7,000
  • Standard 30-day residential inpatient treatment- $10,000 – $20,000
  • Premium/luxury 30-day residential inpatient care – $25,000 and up

Types of Outpatient Care

  • Addiction therapy and counseling – Free – $1,000
  • Intensive outpatient care – $3,000 – $10,000
  • Detox treatment costs anywhere from $300-$800 a day

How To Pay For Treatment?

  • Insurance Coverage – Most insurance policies will pay for all or a portion of rehab costs. A deductible likely may need to be paid and thereafter coverage varies.
  • Payment Plans & Financing – Most treatment facilities will offer payment plans to pay your bill monthly or weekly at a slower pace. Interest may or may not be added on.
  • Sliding Scale – It is possible to find a treatment center that will work off of a sliding scale based on monthly income and offer financial aid to lower income levels.
  • Free Of Charge – Local health departments and social services do offer free or subsidized options, but these can be harder to find.

Cost Of Addiction

While the cost of seeking treatment for addiction can appear to be expensive, when you consider the cost associated with staying on a bad path, it’s a small price to pay for your health, freedom and a better quality of life.

Addiction can lead to medical conditions, criminal problems such as arrests and even death. Not to mention the cost of keeping up a habit over time, which can range from anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000/year  can far outweigh the cost of treatment.

Substance abuse treatment is available to everyone and is more attainable and affordable than most understand. If you or someone you love is facing an addiction problem, reach out today to learn more about programs that can turn a life around.


National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS):

Data on Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities, www.samhsa.gov, 2011.

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