Demi Lovato’s ‘road to recovery’ through rehab will be costly

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Following her drug overdose, singer Demi Lovato said she is on the “road to recovery” — and she’s not alone. Most Americans entering rehab will face wildly different costs, depending on their insurance provider and state.

In a statement on her Instagram FB, -1.55%   account, Lovato said she wanted to be transparent about her addiction and thank her family, friends and fans (as well as the hospital staff) for their support. “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time,” she wrote. “It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”

Lovato said she now needs time to heal and focus on sobriety and her “road to recovery.” She added, “I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting.” (Lovato did not disclose what drug she had taken that led to her overdose.)

Lovato is one of millions of Americans who suffer from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Nearly half of Americans say they’ve had a family member or friend with a current or past drug addiction, according to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center.

More than 115 Americans die from opioid overdose every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and opioid overdoses have increased 30% between July 2016 and September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states. Opioids include prescription medication, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl.

Also see: U.S. Surgeon General says more Americans should carry this critical drug

A patient’s out-of-pocket expenses vary drastically by insurance provider — whether it is a private company or Medicare or Medicaid — their plans and what their c and deductibles are, the patient’s state, and the treatment necessary, said Michael Cartwright, chief executive officer of American Addiction Centers, a rehabilitation company based in Brentwood, Tenn.

“Some rates haven’t changed in 20 years,” he said. “It is a highly underfunded field.”

Cathryn Donaldson, director of communications and public affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans, a member organization of about 1,300 insurance companies, told MarketWatch, “Health insurance providers are committed to providing access to evidence-based substance use disorder therapies, rehabilitation, and innovative, holistic treatment plans to help patients get and stay sober.”

Medicare, the federal program for people 65 and older and people with disabilities, can cover inpatient treatment at hospitals and some drug centers, or screening for substance abuse and counseling, but might be limited.

Medicare Part A, which is hospital insurance, states an individual can receive no more than 190 days of treatment at a psychiatric center for the life of the patient. Medicare Part B may cover screening and intervention, but require copays. Part D covers medications, though patients should double check those they were prescribed are covered by their insurance plan.

There are a few ways to treat addiction, and they each come with varying price tags, according to the Addiction Center, an online resource about drug addiction and treatment from the Beach House Center for Recovery in Juno Beach, Fla. It breaks down some of the costs:

• Outpatient detox can cost between $1,000 and $1,500 in total.

• Inpatient rehab could cost between $6,000 and $20,000 for a 30-day program, or up to $60,000 for a 60-day or 90-day programs.

• Outpatient rehab allows patients to live outside of the facility, and its price depends on how frequently they visit. They cost at least $5,000 for a three-month program.

• Medications cost thousands of dollars every year. Heroin users may need a year-long methadone treatment, which could cost about $4,700 per year.

States also fund their own drug rehabilitation centers. These centers cater to low-income residents or people living in poverty or without health insurance, which could be free to eligible participants. They are in high demand and, in some cases, patients may be released before their treatment is complete, according to New Beginnings, an online resource for drug addiction and treatment.

Also see: What we’re getting wrong about ‘deaths of despair’

Immediate intervention can be critical in helping someone survive an initial overdose. Naloxone is a drug that helps reverses the effects of an opioid overdose as it’s happening, allowing the person to restore his or her breathing and, in most cases, wait for a paramedic or doctor to arrive. A kit costs between $20 and $40, according to GoodRX, a website that tracks drug prices.

It is administered via a nasal mist or injection, and is now available over the counter. The U.S. Surgeon General said earlier this year more people should be carrying naloxone.

The economic impact of opioid drug abuse was $504 billion in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Council of Economic Advisers. That includes health-care expenses, criminal justice costs and lost productivity. President Donald Trump has called the crisis a “public health emergency.”

(If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug addiction, there’s help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a 24/7 hotline).

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