Is Methadone Maintenance Affordable?
Affordable medical care can be hard to come by, regardless of the type of treatment needed. Fortunately, finding affordable methadone maintenance treatment may be a little easier as government organizations make efforts to curb substance abuse rates across the country.
Methadone maintenance treatment costs can vary depending on a person’s financial situation. Various funding sources may have different payment structures in place, which can also affect how much a person pays. Free methadone maintenance treatment programs may also be a viable option for those willing to do the necessary legwork.
Methadone maintenance treatment has been in existence since the mid 1960s, so funding to cover needed treatment costs has come from various and changing sources over the years, according to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. In general, federal, state, private-funding and self-pay financing covers treatment costs, though actual cost percentages have changed through the years.
Prior to the 1990s, not-for-profit agencies covered a big chunk of the costs making treatment affordable for most everyone. As of the 1990s, for-profit agencies started entering the methadone maintenance treatment field, which meant higher out-of-pocket costs for program participants.
As of 2008, half of the 286,000 people admitted to methadone maintenance treatment programs paid for their treatment out-of-pocket, which runs anywhere from $13 to $25 a day. As treatment costs can vary from facility to facility, some people may actually pay lower daily costs depending on the type of funding any one facility receives.
In effect, the actual out-of-pocket costs a person pays depends on the following factors:
- Income level
- Type of insurance coverage (or lack thereof)
- State funding availability
- For-profit vs. not-for-profit facility
Having various funding sources makes it possible for treatment programs to offer sliding-fee scale payment options based on the different funding factors.
Medicaid/Medicare & Private Insurance Coverage
Medicaid, Medicare, individual insurance plans and employer plans all offer designated coverage benefits for substance abuse treatment. As of 2014, provisions included in the Affordable Care Act require all insurance providers to offer substance abuse treatment benefits as part of their standard policy coverage.
This means people who didn’t have benefit coverage before 2014 can now have some of their treatment costs paid for through their health insurance plan. As benefit coverage amounts differ from state to state and insurer to insurer, policyholders will want to review their coverage plans before considering available methadone maintenance treatment options. In most cases, having just about any form of health insurance coverage makes methadone maintenance treatment more affordable.
Free Methadone Maintenance Treatment Options
Free opiate addition treatment options do exist, though finding them requires a bit of research and diligence. As with most things free, free methadone programs often have long waiting lists of eligible applicants. Funding availability also determines whether any one particular program can admit new people at any given time.
Interestingly enough, data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 2010 show private not-for-profit agencies are most likely to offer “all free” treatment care when compared to public not-for-profit agencies. Private not-for-profit agencies are also more likely to offer “all free” residential treatment for eligible applicants.