Finding Funding for Addiction Treatment When Insurance is Not an Option

Woman on her phone

For numerous individuals, inpatient addiction treatment services are their best shot at effectively battling addiction and living a healthy life.  According to estimates by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), almost 23.5 million Americans struggle with addiction of some kind.

However, out of these struggling individuals, only 10 percent receive the treatment they require and up to 40 percent do not get treated due to budgetary constraints.

Finding the right rehab program is easier with good insurance. However, even if you are not insured or lack the ability to pay up front, treatment and recovery are still possible. Hurdles you might face include longer searchers for finding the right treatment or the possibility of waiting on a list for a treatment slot to open up.

There are several options to consider, as detailed below.

State-funded Addiction Treatment

Most states provide funding for drug and alcohol addiction treatment through the public mental health or substance abuse treatment centers, easily accessible by individuals with no insurance or income.

Such state-funded centers usually have set certain qualifications protocol for clients to prove eligible for admission. These typically are:

  • Official residence in the state
  • Inadequate or no income and no insurance
  • Legal residence in the U.S.
  • Proven addiction status and necessity for intervention

There may be more requirements for the individual to be accepted into addiction treatment, depending which state the patient resides in. If the patient’s inability to pay has been established, the state may facilitate free treatment on different stages through particular types of clinics or treatment centers.

Man seeking addiction treatment fundingIn order to initiate this process, an individual battling a substance use addiction needs to contact their state or the local mental health/substance abuse agencies.

These agencies are usually a part of larger public or community health agency networks within the government.

The state’s government websites can also provide information on these services and how to apply for them.

SAMSHA’s Treatment Locator

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services to make it more convenient for patients to contact the right treatment providers. This search tool can enable the patient to discover nearby treatment centers based on individual’s address.

Search options are designed in a way to allow certain requirements to be notated depending on the patient’s individualized requirements.

This database of most addiction treatment providers in America also allows the search to be specified through payment assistance or treatment on a sliding scale. Once the list of potential providers is accessed, it’s up to the individual to contact each in person or via phone, and inquire about the availability and fit.

To use the SAMHSA database:

  1. Access the SAMHSA treatment locator
  2. Click on your state and then enter your ZIP code to search for providers within a certain radius around your location.
  3. Click on ‘select services’ and then narrow down the search by looking up providers with ‘a sliding fee scale’ or ‘payment assistance.’

Veterans can also look for treatment through Veterans Affairs.[1]

Financing Options

Even though finding a free or low cost treatment may be a tedious process, almost 76 percent of treatment providers offer either payment assistance or sliding scale treatment for eligible patients.

Many treatment centers provide the option of financing where the payment could be made in installment over time. There are even specialty loan companies particularly serving the purpose of funding treatment for individuals.

Financing can work by applying for a loan from a bank as well and then paying off the cost of treatment once the program has concluded. Many financing options do not require payments until six months after the completion of the rehab program. This could be sufficient time to find a job and afford the payments.[3]

Faith-based Addiction Treatment

Numerous faith-based groups provide drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Christian Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers and Harbor Light detox and residential centers are such examples, that have facilities spread throughout the nation, alongside an array of other rehabilitation centers and organizations dedicated to residential rehab and treatment based on their faith and traditions.

Some religious organizations such as the Orthodox Jewish Chabad provide an institution of support for the patients, such as its residential treatment center for men in California. Other examples include JACS, a Jewish community addiction resource group in New York, and other Christian support organizations, like Alcoholics Victorious and Christians in Recovery.

These groups normally offer free of cost 12-Step support or other counseling, religious motivation and peer support group programs. However, they do not provide medical detox, typically requiring that their patients to undergo detox before initiating their programs.

Faith-based rehabs incorporate their faith traditions as a basis of their treatment initiatives. Finding these centers is usually just a matter of talking to the leaders of these faith traditions. Most of these programs are free of charge.[2]

12-steps Meetings or Other Support Groups

12-Step programs and non-religious self-help and support groups provide a substantiated support structure for ongoing recovery. They are, however, not recommended as a sole, complete treatment model for addiction recovery.

Woman talking on the phone

These groups are most often free of cost. Support groups are usually specialized for each substance use disorder such as Alcoholics Anonymous for alcohol use disorder recovery and Narcotics Anonymous for drugs abuse recovery.

These support groups are particularly helpful in case of a wait list for treatment. Joining these groups will provide a head-start on recovery and impart some necessary educational resources.

Finding a low-cost or free treatment program can be a frustrating and tedious process. It may make things easier to enlist the support of a trusted friend or loved one who can help you and keep you motivated through this difficult time.

It is important to look ahead during this time and know that treatment is worth the journey toward it. This may be your only shot at gaining back control of your life and live a fulfilling one ahead.


Sana Ahmed photoAbout the Author:

A journalist and social media savvy content writer with wide research, print and on-air interview skills, Sana Ahmed has previously worked as staff writer for a renowned rehabilitation institute focusing on mental health and addiction recovery, a content writer for a marketing agency, an editor for a business magazine and been an on-air news broadcaster.

Sana graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Management from London School of Economics and began a career of research and writing right after. The art of using words to educate, stir emotions, create change and provoke action is at the core of her career, as she strives to develop content and deliver news that matters.



The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on June 29, 2017.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 29, 2017
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About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.