Why Heroin Addiction Treatment Could Be Stopped By Insurance

hopeless addict in need of help

When reports hit the news of the heroin overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, one item in the story that attracted attention was the fact that only months before his death, the actor had checked into rehab in an attempt to get sober. If Hoffman had been to rehab, and so recently, shouldn’t he have been clean? Shouldn’t he have been able to avoid a tragic overdose death? Questions like these were in the minds of many after Hoffman was found dead with a needle in his arm and dozens of bags of heroin in his apartment in Manhattan.

What many overlooked was the fact that Hoffman’s recent stint in rehab was a brief one. He spent only 10 days in treatment, a period that many in the field of addiction recovery will confirm simply is not long enough to make a meaningful difference. To put it simply, drug rehab is not something you can do overnight, and when so much is on the line — one’s chance of enjoying a future of happiness and health — it is well worth the time and effort to make sure it is done right. The proof is in the results, and the final outcome of the situation confirms that 10 days in rehab simply was not long enough for Philip Seymour Hoffman to beat his addiction to heroin.

Unfortunately, adequate treatment is often denied to people who are addicted to heroin yet do have insurance coverage that should pay for rehab. What frequently happens is described in a recent USA Today article on the subject: An addict who has coverage to pay for in-patient, intensive rehab is turned down by the insurance company on the condition that the person has not yet tried and failed to get sober through an out-patient rehab. Effectively, people who need treatment now are being denied it because the insurance company they counted on to pay for it is trying to protect their own bottom line. This is nothing new in the arena of dealing with insurance companies; they very often fail to live up to their promises of being like a good neighbor or of placing the policy holder’s trust in good hands. Instead, it happens all too often that the customer is turned down fair coverage or denied outright in a claim that they were counting on being paid in their time of need.

Is Heroin Rehab Worth the Cost

girl recovered from addiction

This issue promises to get worse and worse, in light of the fact that heroin is in the midst of a major comeback recently. More and more people are getting addicted to this drug, many of whom were previously hooked on prescription painkillers and are shifting to heroin because it is cheaper and generally easier to find on the streets. When these people turn to their insurance companies for help in paying for treatment, they are often coming up short, being told that they will not get to receive the full treatment that they truly need to handle the problem. The denial of benefits can be potentially fatal since a heroin addict who doesn’t receive effective treatment when it is needed is liable to suffer an overdose in the meantime. In light of this, it is vital that one not rely on the insurance company to pay for treatment.

Drug rehab is never cheap, and in light of the fact that it often takes months to recover from heroin addiction, the bill for treatment can be substantial. But it is well worth it. The prospect of being able to recover from a devastating addiction, to make a fresh start in life and to leave drugs behind once and for all is not something that one can easily put a price tag on.



Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.