Will My Health Insurance Cover Rehab?

drunkIf you’re having trouble recalling your Friday nights recently because you’ve been going and getting blotto’ed as soon as the work week is done, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should check yourself into rehab. If your Friday night binge is following similar drinking fests Monday through Thursday, however, it’s probably time to take a break from the sauce.

Of course, alcoholism is a serious problem that can ruin your life and get you cut out of a will faster than you can say “I’ll take another.” If you think you might need some professional help, then you might also be wondering if your health insurance will cover rehab.

Should I go to Rehab?

While some of your co-workers and drinking buddies might make jokes about being “such an alcoholic,” since they occasionally use whiskey to chase shots of vodka, the reality is that there are thousands of alcoholics in the U.S. But aside from losing your job, house, and loved ones due to your love for booze, how can you tell if you might need to go to rehab?

According to Help Guide, which is a non-profit resource regarding alcoholism, determining that you have a substance abuse problem that could destroy your life isn’t always easy. Some of the signs that your drinking hobby could be getting out of hand include feeling guilty about your boozing, having friends and relatives tell you that they’re worried about your drinking, and needing to have a few drinks just to relax. Of course, if you’re smuggling a bottle of vodka into the office every day in an empty violin case, then it’s probably time to pick out a rehab center.

Other serious indications that your boozing has gone off the rails include skipping out on your responsibilities just to get your drink on, and creating dangerous situations by doing things like drinking and driving or downing beers while you use a chainsaw. In addition, if you start to sweat, shake, or vomit after you haven’t had a drink in a while, then the gig is definitely up and it’s time to dry out!

What’s Covered Under My Health Insurance Policy?

Recognizing you have a drinking problem is the first step on the road to recovery, but finding the cash to pay for rehab is, of course, another big hurdle. Thankfully, if you work for a company or business that has a group health insurance plan, then the cost of your trip to rehab will likely be covered!

Thanks to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, any group insurance plan that has 50 or more workers on it is required to cover treatments for substance abuse as if they were medical or mental health procedures. Prior to the act, many group insurance plans imposed strict limits on drug rehab programs or paid out much less towards substance abuse programs.

While it’s estimated that, through the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, millions of workers now have rehab expenses covered by their health insurance policy, if your plan does not cover mental health treatments you could be out of luck. In addition, while some plans will provide coverage for typical rehab services like detoxification, inpatient or outpatient care, and even long-term residential treatment, others may only provide minimal coverage or none at all. In other words, it’s a good idea to read up on your insurance plan before you start making calls to the Betty Ford Clinic.

What if I only have Private Health Insurance?

If you’re self-employed or don’t work for a company that offers health insurance, then your own private insurance plan likely does not offer much coverage for rehab. Some states do require insurance companies to provide some coverage for substance abuse programs, but the amount varies from state to state as well as the insurance policy.

Since most rehab programs are extremely expensive, many insurance companies are reluctant to offer significant coverage so that they can keep the premiums they charge at an affordable level. Of course, if you’re a movie star or a fat cat investor with a bazillion dollars, then forking over a hundred grand for rehab every second year isn’t such a big deal.

Should I Just Put Rehab Off?

While it may be tempting to toss rehab to the side if your insurance doesn’t cover it, and head straight to the bar to begin yet another month-long binge, there are other ways to get help. Although many state rehab programs are extremely underfunded, and may be hard to access, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re down and out. Without some kind of help, things could get much, much worse.

It also never hurts to ask your family and friends for rehab funds. Since they have already likely told you that your drinking is worrying them and that no one can stand being around you when you’re hammered, they might be more than happy to chip in and get you sober.

Although attending help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t exactly the same thing as rehab, it will certainly help. Typically, these groups meet at community centers and churches, and offer snacks and coffee for free, as well as desperately needed counseling!