Professional substance abuse treatment is instrumental in moving someone from a state of addiction and physical dependence towards a place of recovery and wellness.1 Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) represent an important level of care on the continuum of treatment options.
As with any treatment for a medical or mental health issue, cost is a major concern for many people, if not the biggest concern. Before considering the cost of an IOP, remember that any fee for addiction treatment is only a general figure and the specific cost will be unique to the facility. The cost for one day of IOP treatment often ranges from $250 to $350 per day.2 The cost of the program you attend could fall outside this range, however.
The most influential factors affecting the cost of substance abuse programs are:3
You can expect an IOP in a relatively less desirable location that offers standard treatment services to a general population to cost less than a program located in a beachside setting that offers a broad range of services from an expert staff. However, because your recovery is so important, when quality treatment is needed, it might not be the best time to focus on cost cutting.
Costs in the range of $250 to $350 per day might seem hard to swallow, but other more intensive forms of addiction treatment are significantly more expensive—medical detoxes, inpatient rehabs, and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) can cost hundreds more per day than IOPs:2
Each level of care has its place in recovery. Though it may be tempting to seek the treatment with the lowest cost, it is more important to find the services that meet your needs at the current time.4
Since IOPs are all different, there will be some treatment variation from program to program. As an informed consumer, you’ll want to see where your money is going and if the treatment feels like the right fit for you.
Usually, IOPs consist of 9 hours of treatment per week, which is usually divided into 3-hour days of treatment occurring 3 times per week, but treatment could also take place anywhere from 2 to 5 days per week.5Group therapy is often the primary form of treatment within an IOP, with individual and family sessions also available.
Group therapy will:5
Group sessions may take place in a variety of formats and cover different topics.GROUP MEETINGSTypes of group meetings include:5
The educational groups may have a larger number of people in each session while the process groups will be smaller and consist of fewer than 10 clients.5
The total course of IOP treatment frequently runs from 12 to 16 weeks.5
Now that you know what you are paying for, you may be wondering whether IOPs really work. Fortunately, the answer is yes!
When compared to inpatient rehab, IOPs can be just as beneficial to the recovering person, resulting in outcomes that are comparable to higher levels of treatment.6
Even though IOPs are significantly cheaper than higher levels of care, you may still worry about whether you can afford to attend one. Before you decide it’s too expensive, spend some time exploring your options. You likely have more than you think.
Insurance is the most obvious place to start when it comes to paying for treatment. Often, both private and public/government-funded (Medicare and Medicaid) insurance providers cover numerous mental health and substance abuse services, and as long as there is a medical necessity for IOP, it will likely be covered in some part by your plan.
To avoid a surprise medical bill, call your insurance company directly by using the number on the back of your card to ask them directly how much they’ll cover and which treatment providers are in their network. You can also call specific programs to see if they accept your insurance and how they collect copays.