How To Get Addiction Treatment Without Insurance?


Currently, in the United States, there is a vast discrepancy between the number of people who need addiction treatment and those who actually receive it. While a percentage of this can be attributed to individuals who are reluctant to seek treatment, the true problem lies in accessibility.


Insurance barriers play a large role in one’s ability—or inability—to secure a spot at a reputable substance abuse treatment program. In fact, approximately 90% of individuals who reach out for addiction help are unable to obtain treatment in a private facility. The primary reasons for this are because:


  1. They do not have private insurance. Instead, they have state-funded insurance such as Medicaid and Medicare. Individuals can call member services on the back of their insurance card to see what state facilities they cover.


  1. They lack insurance altogether and cannot independently afford the cost of private facilities.


In most cases, if the above-mentioned reasons apply to the individual looking for help, they would be directed to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration). Unfortunately, many who are referred to SAMHSA never get the help they need because the steps to successfully enroll in free, state-funded rehab are not clearly outlined.

In this article, we will outline a step by step process along with all the available options available to help you or your loved one get the help they need.


What is SAMHSA?


An entity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advocates for the advancement in behavioral health services throughout the nation. It is their mission to reduce the impact of mental illness and substance abuse on communities across the U.S.


Often, individuals who are in need of a center for addictions will be directly referred to SAMHSA.  While SAMHSA has an extensive directory and network of recovery and support services for those seeking addiction treatment, many find it exceedingly difficult to acquire the help they need. With so many helplines and treatment/services locators, it’s hard to determine where to start.


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Navigating SAMHSA

SAMHSA can be an extremely useful resource if you know how to navigate their website correctly. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and needs treatment, here’s what you can do:


  1. Go to and select the Find Treatment tab.


  1. From there, you’ll be presented with a variety of treatment locator options. For substance abuse treatment, select Substance Use Treatment Locator – it will be the first one on the list.


  1. SAMHSA’s Substance Use Treatment Locator will direct you to Select Find Treatment, and type in your city or zip code. will present you with a list of facilities within 25 miles of your location.


  1. To the left, use Refine Search Results to make any adjustments to the location, distance, treatment type, payment options, etc.


Depending on the area you live in or the location you selected for care, there will be a variance in state-funded and private rehabs.


In addition to their Substance Use Treatment Locator, SAMHSA also provides resources and service locators for:



For immediate help, SAMHSA has a National Helpline available 24/7. Also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service, it provides free and confidential treatment information for mental health and substance use disorders. Available in English and Spanish, call 1-800-622-HELP (4357).


Understanding State Rehabs Vs. Private Rehabs


Before enrolling in a substance abuse recovery program, it’s imperative for individuals to be aware of the types of rehab centers available, specifically, the differences between state rehab and private rehab. Both options provide care for substance use disorders, but differ in their treatment programs, payment methods, and management styles.


State Rehab

A state-funded rehab center is an ideal option for those who are looking to get started on their journey road to recovery but have limited finances. Bankrolled by the government (at a state level), a state-funded addictions treatment center provides services to those who are unable to afford treatment in a private center. State-funded rehab programs may include the following:

  • Detox

  • Inpatient treatment

  • Outpatient treatment

  • Partial hospitalization

  • Supportive services.


While state rehabs offer evidence-based care, they may not provide the most cutting-edge treatment methods due to limited funding and low staff-to-patient ratios. It’s also important to note that many state rehabs are notorious for having longer-than-average waiting lists, making it difficult for those to receive the immediate care they desperately need.


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Private Rehabs

By providing in-depth treatment programs paired with top-of-the-line accommodations, private rehabs are considered to be some of the most effective treatment facilities out there. Generally, private rehabs offer a broader assortment of therapies and can address each patient’s specific needs.


Treatment models also vary throughout private rehab centers. Private facilities recognize the complex and varying nature of addiction and adapt a treatment model that they feel best addresses the long-term process of recovery. These treatment models include:


  • Traditional addiction treatment

  • Holistic addiction treatment

  • Medical model

  • Behavioral health model


If those seeking help for addiction choose the private route, they will have the unique ability to select a program that best adapts to their personal needs. Additionally, wait times are much shorter than state-funded programs, allowing individuals to receive treatment faster.


Unfortunately, personalized treatment in a luxurious setting comes with a high price tag — one that not many can’t afford. In fact, over one-third of people who need treatment for substance use disorder lack the funds or insurance coverage to receive it. Select private health insurance will pay a portion of the treatment costs, but the rest will be required out-of-pocket.  For those who don’t have the financial means for private rehabs, state-rehabs are a recommended option.


Seeking State-Funded Rehabs


Resources like SAMHSA,, and Find Addiction Rehabs can assist you in locating state-funded rehabs in your area. Once a list of locations is provided to you, we recommend setting up a strategy that will improve your chances of enrollment. You may want to consider the following:


  1. Scan through your list of locations and find the treatment centers that have good reviews on Google. It would be best if you tried to stay above 3.5 stars. Call them directly to receive information on their requirements and wait times.


  1. Set up a time to call these facilities each day until you are guaranteed a bed. To supplement this, you should also show up to the facilities every day to show your willingness to get clean and sober.


If you or your loved one has Medicare, Medicaid, or any state-funded insurance, we highly suggest calling the number on your insurance card. You can request your insurance agency to email you a list of in-network facilities. Once you receive that email, you should employ the same vetting strategy mentioned above.


Eligibility for State-Funded Treatment Programs

Unfortunately, state rehab centers are in high demand due to their affordability and often have limited program spots and long waiting lists. As a result, these facilities are known to have strict eligibility requirements.


If you are seeking treatment at a state rehab, you may be required to provide the following information:


  • Proof of income

  • Family Size

  • Lack of health insurance coverage

  • Proof of residency in the state you require services in


Please note, specific requirements can vary state by state.


When Will Treatment Start?

Once you have applied for services and meet the eligibility requirements, you will be placed on a waiting list more likely than not—immediate enrollment in a rarity for state programs. Depending on the length of the waiting list, it can take anywhere from weeks to months to start treatment.


In the meantime, it’s recommended that you utilize a 12-step program while you wait to be admitted into a state-funded facility.


If you start to experience withdrawal symptoms during your waiting period, please seek help at the nearest hospital or ER. Staff members will be best equipped to manage your symptoms safely.

Enrolling in a 12-Step Program


12-step programs are another exceptional resource for recovery and prevention for substance abuse. Created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12-step (AA, NA, CA, HA, etc.) is an established set of guidelines that assists those struggling with addiction.


The basis of the 12-step model is to help individuals achieve abstinence from drugs and alcohol, while finding healing in a higher power. While many 12-step programs take a slight religious approach to treatment, there are alternatives for more secular programs.


In these meetings, ask the community if they know of any free or low cost facilities. Or any facilities that might accept state insurance. The community will come together to make recommendations from their own experience and may know a local facility you can get in to.


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The Benefits of a 12-Step Program

If you or a loved one is dealing with a substance use disorder, support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) may be ideal to attend. These special programs help individuals feel less isolated and, most importantly, allow them to learn from others who share similar problems and experiences.


12-step programs can be found just about anywhere and offer countless benefits, including:


  • A strong sober community and network

  • Accessibility in any city, town, and state

  • Structure in daily routine

  • A chance to help and be helped by others

  • Renewed commitment to recovery


These unique programs are a great alternative for those who need addiction help but don’t have immediate access to it.


Due to COVID-19, many 12-step programs and organizations have put their in-person meetings on hold. However, virtual meetings are still available for various AA and NA programs.


Asking Friends and Family for Financial Support


It’s never easy to ask for financial help from family and friends, but when your sobriety is at stake, the hard steps become the necessary steps. Your family and friends have so much love for you – you may be surprised by their response.


However, if you are wary of directly asking your loved one for financial help, many online fundraising platforms are available as an alternative. One excellent example is


Either you, a family member, or friend can create a public GoFundMe campaign that explains what the funds are needed for. Once created, be sure to add a picture and share it across all your social media channels. Friends, family members, and those in your community will be able to donate to your cause.


The people closest to you want to see you succeed in life. If you are making the commitment to seek treatment and lead a life of sobriety, there’s a great chance they will offer their financial support to help you achieve it.


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Find Addiction Rehabs is Here to Help


Are you ready to take the next steps towards recovery? Find Addiction Rehabs is here to help you locate the best treatment centers in your area based on your specific needs. Call us today at 877-959-7271 to learn more about your available options.