What is State Funded Rehab? - Withdrawal

What is State Funded Rehab?

State-funded rehab is a treatment option offered to individuals who have state-funded insurance like medicaid and medicare or those who are eligible for it.


Takeaways from this article:

  • american addiction centers photo

    The difference between private and state-funded rehab.

  • american addiction centers photo

    Who is eligible for state-funded rehab.

  • american addiction centers photo

    How to find local rehab centers.


One of the major reasons people give for not getting the treatment they need is a lack of health insurance coverage and being unable to afford the cost of treatment.1 State-funded rehab and detox facilities offer an option for people who may not be able to afford treatment due to a lack of insurance or an inability to pay for care.

Approximately 21.2 million Americans aged 12 or older required treatment for substance use in 2018.1 However, only about 3.7 million of those people received any sort of treatment.1 Even with this comparatively small number, it is difficult to estimate how many people attended private treatment compared to those in publicly funded treatment programs. However, the vast majority of treatment facilities in the United States are privately funded. Nearly 90% of facilities are privately funded, while just over 10% are government-sponsored rehab programs.2 Oftentimes, these state-funded detox and rehab centers serve as a haven for many who cannot afford privately-run facilities.

What is a State-Funded Rehab Center?

State-sponsored treatment centers obtain their funding from government sources in a few different ways. The government sets aside money as block grants for substance abuse treatment that is distributed to state-funded treatment facilities.3 State general funds are also available to be disbursed to this type of facility to be spent on treatment.3 Finally, Medicaid reimbursement allocates funding for treatment for people with Medicaid coverage in state-sponsored treatment programs.3

In addition to these funding streams, federal and state funds can also be distributed in other ways. Each state may manage and distribute their funding differently. Court-ordered treatment for substance use disorders in state-sponsored facilities receives this type of government funding. This is especially helpful to people who are mandated to attend treatment even if they may not have insurance coverage or cannot afford the cost of treatment even with health insurance.

While private rehab and state-funded rehab both offer treatment for substance use disorders, there are notable differences between these types of facilities, with benefits and drawbacks to each.

Private rehab aren’t limited to government funding. They may receive funding from private investors as well as health insurance providers and directly from patient fees and copays. The cost of private treatment can be significantly higher than state-sponsored care. These higher costs are reinvested into the program in various ways. Facilities may be larger and have more space, allowing for more patients to be admitted and wait times to be significantly shorter. More staff means that the patient-to-staff ratio is lower, creating a personalized experience with treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs. Treatment practitioners use both accepted effective treatments and newer methods, available due to increased funding. Complementary therapies such as animal-assisted therapy, creative arts therapy, acupuncture, and yoga may be offered, depending on the treatment center. Upgraded amenities may be available, with some facilities offering experiences similar to hotels and spas, including private rooms, chef-prepared meals, massage, a swimming pool, fitness rooms, or golf courses. Many private rehabs can treat people with physical or mental health disorders in addition to substance use disorders.

The most appealing aspect of state-funded rehabs is that they are cost-effective. Rehab facilities that offer low-cost or no-cost treatment may be the only way that some people can access treatment. While this doesn’t apply to everyone who has a substance use disorder, some people may not be able to maintain steady employment and carry health insurance coverage. Others may not have enough money available to afford the cost of treatment even with health insurance. For these people, a state-sponsored program may be the best option for accessing treatment services. Federal and state funding is distributed through state agencies, which closely monitor and regulate how the facility operates. All therapies that are used must be thoroughly researched and shown to be effective, and staff is required to be licensed and undergo regular training to keep their knowledge current. Newer techniques may not be implemented as quickly in this type of program and some kinds of complementary therapies may not be incorporated at all.

There are also aspects of state-sponsored substance use treatment that may be potentially disadvantageous. Funding is restricted to what is allocated for the year, so amenities are often basic. Patient-to-staff ratios are higher in these types of rehabs, leading to treatment that is less individualized to each person’s unique needs, and staff having less time to devote to individual counseling. Treatment may be limited to addressing substance use disorders rather than also treating patients’ additional physical or mental health issues.

Are You Eligible For State-Funded Rehab?

State-funded rehabs provide a service for which there is a high level of need. This means that there are stringent requirements in place to become eligible for admission into one of these rehabsprograms. The process may work differently depending on which state you live in, but in general, you can expect to be asked to provide:4

  • Proof of residency in the county or state in which you are seeking treatment.
  • An estimate of your annual income.
  • How many family members live in your home.
  • Proof that you do not have insurance coverage.

Each state has an agency that can explain the eligibility requirements. In Massachusetts, if you don’t have health insurance, you can find out more about eligibility for state-funded rehab programs by calling a helpline and speaking with a specialist.5 They can also help you find a facility.5 Many state websites offer prescreening options and the opportunity to apply for benefits online.

While there are strict requirements associated with admission to a state-funded rehab program, private treatment facilities don’t have restrictions like this. Most private rehabs require screening before admission and will most likely ask for your insurance information. If you don’t have insurance, they may be able to assist you in applying for healthcare coverage.

Same Day Rehab Admissions at State-Funded Rehab Centers

State-funded treatment centers work with limited funding streams, so there are set numbers of program spots available. These spots are usually in high demand. This can lead to long waitlists for admission into this type of program. It is estimated that half to 75% of people looking to get admitted to state-funded treatment had to wait more than 30 days.6  A study showed that more than a third of people seeking treatment waited more than 3 months before being admitted to state-funded rehabs.7 In some states it can take 6 months or longer to get admitted to treatment.7 People who have more severe substance use disorders may be prioritized for admission and have shorter wait times at state-funded facilities.6

Private treatment facilities have shorter waitlists and may be able to accommodate immediate admissions. These rehabs tend to have larger facilities and more program spots available, which makes it easier to admit people faster.

How Do I Find State-Funded Rehab Near Me?

You may be thinking, “This sounds great, but how can I find state-funded rehab centers near me?” There are websites devoted to helping you find state-funded facilities in your area. You can search for rehabs near you by visiting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration treatment finder here. You can search by a variety of options, including treatment type, payment options, age, special rehabs for people who are LGBTQ or veterans, and rehabs that offer the use of medications to assist in reaching treatment goals. A behavioral health treatment locator, which you can find here, will help you search for facilities that treat substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders and state-funded rehabs.

American Addiction Centers Can Help

American Addiction Centers works hard to help people access treatment more easily. While we aim to provide treatment to anyone who needs it, we also strive to offer information and assistance to people who call our helpline. It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. Calling our helpline will connect you to one of our understanding and knowledgeable Admissions Navigators who are passionate about helping people get into treatment. Feel free to call about any questions you may have, anything from what is rehab like to asking for help finding a treatment facility near you. They can even provide resources to help you find treatment at another facility. When you are ready to reach out, we will be waiting to provide the support and guidance that you need. You can reach us at 1-888-935-1318.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). 2018 state profile — United States and other jurisdictions: National survey of substance abuse treatment services (N-SSATS).
  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2000). Integrating substance abuse treatment and vocational services. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 38. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4216. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Paying for treatment.
  5. The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline. (2020). How to access treatment.
  6. Andrews, C.M., Shin, H.-C., Marsh, J.C., & Cao, D. (2012). Client and program characteristics associated with wait time to substance abuse treatment entry. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-8.
  7. Democratic Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance. (2016). Dying waiting for treatment: The opioid use disorder treatment gap and the need for funding.