Cobra Coverage for Drug and Alcohol Detox & Addiction Treatment

Published: 01/15/2018 | Author:

COBRA, also known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, exists as a federal law that allows individuals to continue their health coverage in the event of job loss. COBRA requires companies with 20 or more employees to offer COBRA coverage, so if you’ve been terminated or laid off and struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction problem, COBRA coverage can help offset some of your treatment costs.

Job loss naturally brings on feelings of stress and anxiety that can easily make an existing drug or alcohol problem that much worse. Not having to worry about the costs that come with detox treatment is half the battle when it comes time to get needed treatment help.

Does COBRA Cover Drug & Alcohol Detox?

A substance abuse problem develops out of the effects drugs and alcohol have on the brain and body. Over time, physical and psychological changes occur, both of which make it increasingly difficult to stop or reduce substance abuse.

Detox treatment offers the types of treatment supports needed to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. With detox being a necessary first step in the recovery process, COBRA health coverage benefits can go a long way towards helping you get started in recovery.

As a state and locally sponsored health insurance option, COBRA enables former employees to extend their healthcare coverage for a limited period of time. This means the type of coverage offered under COBRA will be the same as what you had while still employed. Coverage benefits also exist for spouses and dependents provided they were covered under your employer plan.

While COBRA may not cover all of your detox treatment cost, it can still help make the cost of getting treatment more affordable.

Does COBRA Cover Drug & Alcohol Rehab?

Cobra Coverage

Your COBRA insurance plan may help cover drug and alcohol rehab services.

Whereas detox care deals with the physical aftereffects of substance abuse, drug and alcohol rehab address the psychological aspects that drive compulsive drug and alcohol use. As a general rule, the longer a substance abuse problems lasts, the more ingrained compulsive drug-using behavior becomes. Getting the level of care you most need to regain control of substance-using behavior should be your main priority when choosing a treatment program.

Since a COBRA plan offers the same level of health coverage as you had before, your coverage benefits for rehab will follow suit. Today’s healthcare laws require insurance carriers to provide the same level of coverage for substance abuse treatment as is offered for medical care so most insurance carriers do offer benefits for drug rehab.

This means COBRA coverage benefits will vary by plan type, state of residence as well as individual policy conditions so it’s important to review your plan policy to see what’s covered and what’s not.

How Long Will COBRA Cover Detox Services?

Under COBRA, employment loss can different forms, including:

  • Termination
  • Layoff
  • Reduction in work hours

In turn, different coverage lengths apply for each of these circumstances. This means the length of time COBRA will cover detox and rehab services will depend on the type of employment loss.

COBRA overage duration in the case of termination runs for up to 18 months for you and any covered dependents. Coverage duration in the case of layoff or a reduction in work hours runs for up to 36 months.

As everyone’s recovery path is different, certain instances may warrant a longer time in rehab. In the event, you or a dependent requires a longer stay than what COBRA will cover, your treatment provider will have to prove that continued care is medically necessary.

Does COBRA Provide Coverage for Luxury Detox & Other Non-Essential Benefits?

Luxury detox programs are known for their resort-like feel and lavish accommodations. Luxury-based detox treatment protocols may follow the standard guidelines, though alternative therapies are also commonly used.

Services provided by luxury detox programs may include:

  • Private rooms instead of semi-private rooms or three or four people to a room
  • Nutritionist services
  • Chef prepared meals
  • Scenic locales
  • Energy balancing therapies
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback therapies

While this level of service can greatly enhance your detox experience, only medically necessary services will be covered by your COBRA plan. That being so if you can afford to pay out-of-pocket or can access the funds needed to cover what COBRA won’t, it’s best to go with the program that you feel will best support your treatment needs.

How Can I Cover the Excess Costs of Detox That Are NOT Covered by Insurance?

Health insurance plans can go a long way towards making the costs of treatment more affordable, but out-of-pocket costs can still place a strain on the budget. A good majority of detox and rehab programs understand the toll drug and alcohol addictions take on the pocketbook. For these reasons, many programs have payment assistance options in place to ensure anyone who wants to get well can afford to get needed treatment help.

Depending on the program, payment assistance options offered may include:

  • Sponsorship openings
  • Payment arrangements
  • Paying on a sliding-fee scale
  • Third-party financing
  • Grant programs

One way to help keep out-of-pocket costs at a minimum is to stay within your health plan network when choosing between detox and rehab programs. By staying in-network you can make the most of your COBRA coverage benefits.

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