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State-Funded Drug and Alcohol Rehab

In 2019, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that more than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 suffered from a substance use disorder (SUD) within the past year. Unfortunately, fewer than 21% of these individuals received treatment for their condition.1 One of the main reasons people are unable to receive the addiction treatment they require is the financial burden of treatment. Many people with drug or alcohol addictions do not have healthcare or the funds to cover rehabilitation.1

Fortunately, there are state-funded rehabilitation (rehab) facilities that are able to provide affordable or no-cost treatment to some low-income individuals or people with no health insurance.

What Is State-Funded Rehab?

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are chronic but treatable brain conditions that impact our behaviors. Like with many other types of chronic illness, individuals suffering from addiction may experience periods of remission and relapse, with relapses signaling a potential need for additional treatment or adjustments to existing recovery efforts.2

For those who are looking for addiction treatment but are struggling to find ways to afford it, state-funded rehab facilities may be an option. There are several ways that states are provided with funding to combat drug and alcohol addiction among those who cannot afford to pay for treatment on their own or with the help of insurance. For example, states may access funding provided through:3

  • Federal mental health block grants.
  • Funding allocated from state and local budgets.
  • Government health programs (Medicaid).

Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Rehab?

Both Medicare and Medicaid are government-funded programs that provide healthcare coverage and assistance, respectively. While frequently confused, they are different services:4

  • Medicare is federal healthcare insurance for seniors and some younger people with disabilities or permanent kidney failure.
  • Medicaid is a federal-state assistance program for low-income individuals and families.

Not all rehab centers accept Medicaid or Medicare. People shouldn’t be discouraged by this, as there are often other treatment options available for people on these government-funded programs seeking drug and alcohol treatment, including inpatient and outpatient care.

The minimum coverage provided through Medicaid and Medicare varies between states and individuals should check with their healthcare providers and a rehab facility before they commit to any facility.

How Does the Affordable Care Act Help Cover Rehab?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a healthcare act enacted in 2010. This act expands access to healthcare and provides additional rights and protections.5 Included in its provisions is the inability for healthcare companies and government-funded healthcare to refuse treatment based on any pre-existing conditions, including addiction and other mental health issues.6, 7

ACA marketplace plans cover mental and behavioral health treatments, including substance abuse treatment. The specific level of coverage provided varies depending on the state and the particular plan chosen; however, ACA insurance generally covers:8

The ACA also prevents charging clients at a different rate for substance use and mental health treatment than for other healthcare treatment.8

Who Qualifies for Government Sponsored Rehab Programs?

Eligibility requirements for government rehab programs vary depending on the state. Generally, these requirements are very strict. These state rehab facilities may also prioritize service for people from certain demographics such as pregnant or single mothers: individuals with severe addictions to needle drugs; and people with infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, etc.9, 10

How Quickly Can I Enter a Government-Funded Rehab?

Unfortunately, low or no-cost treatment for drug and alcohol rehab is in high demand and therefore spaces in inpatient or outpatient facilities are often very limited. Because of this, many of the people accepted in these government-sponsored rehab programs may have to be on a waiting list for periods lasting weeks or months.11

How to Find State-Funded Rehab Near Me

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator on their website, a helpful tool for locating rehab facilities across the United States.

They also provide a directory for Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Use Services, which shares the contact information for the state government agencies that coordinate and provide addiction treatment services to those who are uninsured or low income. State agencies can provide info about government-funded treatment centers where individuals might qualify for treatment.

Private vs State-Sponsored Rehab

Private and state-funded rehabs both function in many of the same ways and have the same goal. Not all private or state-funded rehab centers are the same, but there are some key differences that often exist between them.

  • State-funded rehab facilities may be more bare bones than private rehab. Private rehab programs often offer more amenities (gourmet meals, private rooms, etc.) than state-run facilities, because private rehab is usually covered by insurance or private pay, allowing for facilities to provide greater comfort, services, and amenities. However, these differences may extend deeper than simple luxuries:
    • State-funded programs may only be able to provide basic evidence-based services (detox, counseling, group therapy, etc.).3
    • Private facilities provide these necessities for effective treatment and additionally provide alternative and supplemental therapy methods. Examples of these methods include:12-14
      • Horse-assisted therapy.
      • Yoga therapy.
      • Music and art therapy.
    • State-funded treatment programs are significantly less expensive. This doesn’t mean these facilities are low quality—treatment methods at state-run facilities are evidence-based and are effective at treating drug and alcohol addiction. Of course, many individuals will not qualify for state-funded rehabilitation. The vast majority of people who receive state-funded treatment are young and poor.3
    • State funding for rehab can be limited, and there is a high demand for limited spaces, so it might take weeks to months before a space opens for admission.11 Private rehab can have shorter wait times for admission and provide more individually based care based on lower patient-to-staff ratios.

While the programs may differ, both private and state-funded rehab facilities provide effective treatment that helps patients address their problematic substance use and start working toward recovery.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) provides quality SUD treatment and is dedicated to helping all who are dealing with alcohol or drug addiction. If you are unsure about the steps you need to take to pursue treatment, call our detox hotline to speak with our admissions navigators today, at . They will be able to provide you with confidential, in-depth information that can help you start on your path toward recovery.

If you do have insurance, and you are wondering what it covers, click here, or fill out the form below.

Addiction is a serious and chronic mental health issue. However, with the right treatment—often a combination of behavioral therapies and medications, when appropriate—many people are able to achieve long-lasting recovery.2

Both private and state-funded rehabilitation are valuable options to have. The right tool depends on the needs of the individual seeking treatment.


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of effective treatment.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Funding and Characteristics of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services and State Mental Health Agencies, 2015.
  4. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
  5. (n.d.). Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  6. (n.d.). Coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  7. Abraham, A. J., Andrews, C. M., Grogan, C. M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K. N. & Pollack, H. A. (2017). The Affordable Care Act Transformation of Substance Use Disorder Treatment. American Journal of Public Health. 107(1), 31–32.
  8. (n.d.). Mental health & substance abuse coverage.
  9. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. (2020). Substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant.
  10. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Paying for treatment.
  11. Democratic Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance. (2016). Dying Waiting for Treatment.
  12. Brenna, Ida H., Arnevik, Espen A., Kern-Godal Ann, Ravndal, Edle. (2016). More Than Just a Break from Treatment: How Substance Use Disorder Patients Experience the Stable Environment in Horse-Assisted Therapy. Subst Abuse, 10: 99-108.
  13. Balhara, Y., Gupta, A., Kuppili, P. P., Parmar, A., (2018). Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative ReviewJ Neurosci Rural Pract, 9(1), 117-122.
  14. Aletraris, L., Bride, B. E., Edmond, M. B., Paino, M., Roman, P. M., (2014). The use of art and music therapy in substance abuse treatment programs. Journal of addictions nursing, 25(4), 190–196.
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