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How to Pay for Adolescent Treatment: Aetna Insurance, Financing, & Other Options

paying for adolescent treatment

Making the decision to seek treatment for an adolescent with substance use or behavioral health issues can be a difficult and emotional process for parents. Navigating the process of finding the right treatment facility for your child’s specific needs can be overwhelming. If that’s not bad enough, quality treatment can be prohibitively expensive. Thankfully, there is more than one way to pay for treatment. Understanding how the financial side of treatment works and what your options are, can help to ease the stress of paying for adolescent treatment and make taking care of your child priority number one. 

Paying for Adolescent Treatment with Aetna Insurance

Aetna Insurance is a leading healthcare insurance provider that offers coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Thanks to the Parity Act, all health insurance companies must provide coverage for mental health conditions, including substance use disorders, that is no more restrictive than insurance coverage for other medical conditions. Because of this, Aetna's behavioral health coverage includes a variety of services, such as inpatient and outpatient care, therapy, counseling, and medication management. 

In-Network Providers for Adolescent Treatment

You may have heard that to maximize your behavioral healthcare benefits provided by Aetna insurance, it's essential to choose an in-network treatment facility. In-network providers have negotiated lower rates with Aetna, which means lower out-of-pocket expenses for parents. Finding an in-network treatment facility can mean the difference between only having to pay your deductible for treatment and having to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for your child’s care. However, there are a variety of adolescent behavioral health programs in the United States, both in-network and out-of-network. Even if a facility is out-of-network, they may be able to take your insurance at out-of-network rates

Out-of-Network Providers & Adolescent Treatment

If an in-network provider is not an option, Aetna Insurance may still cover a portion of the treatment costs for out-of-network providers. The facility you are considering may even be able to negotiate a single case agreement (or SCA) to get you in-network rates. First, you have to share your information and verify your benefits. Most admissions staff are well educated on the intricacies of insurance and will have a historical understanding of their coverage rates with various insurances. It’s important to have a firm grasp on your financial obligations before admitting your loved one to treatment so you can proceed with confidence.

Adolescent Treatment Financing Options

You may find yourself facing a large bill even with insurance. Or perhaps your loved one needs  a specific facility that doesn’t take insurance. In these circumstances, it’s best to explore financing. Options for financing include:

Personal Loans

One financing option is to take out a personal loan. Banks and credit unions offer personal loans with varying interest rates and repayment terms, depending on the applicant's credit score and financial situation. It’s not uncommon for treatment centers to have partnerships with local banks that can help facilitate these loans. When considering this route, it's important to compare multiple loan offers to find the best rates and terms.

Treatment Center Financing

Some treatment centers offer in-house financing options to help families afford the cost of care. This may include payment plans, sliding scale fees based on income, or reduced rates for families in financial need. Parents should contact the treatment center directly to inquire about financing options. If you don’t see them listed on the website, do not despair. These services are not often advertised and must be asked for directly.

Healthcare Credit Cards

Healthcare-specific credit cards, such as CareCredit, are designed to help pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance. They allow you to stretch a large bill out over multiple payments. These cards often offer promotional interest rates, such as 0% APR for a set period, but it's essential to read the terms and conditions carefully to avoid high interest rates or penalties later on.

Other Adolescent Treatment Financing Options

Scholarships and Grants

Some non-profit organizations, foundations, and treatment centers offer scholarships or grants to help cover the cost of addiction or mental health treatment for adolescents. Parents can research and apply for these opportunities online or by contacting the organizations directly. One example is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which offers grants for addiction treatment. Additionally, many states have their own Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse which have state-specific funding allocations for state-run facilities and/or partner programs. 

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) as part of their benefits package. EAPs provide free and confidential support for employees and their family members, including assistance with mental health and substance abuse issues. EAPs may offer financial assistance, referrals to treatment providers, or even cover a portion of the treatment costs. Contacting your employer's human resources department to inquire about EAP benefits can make a difference in your treatment experience. EAPs must follow the HIPAA guidelines so anything you talk to them about is protected.

Crowdfunding Adolescent Treatment

Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter can be used to raise funds for treatment. By creating a campaign and sharing the story with friends, family, and social networks, you can gather support from your community to help cover the cost of treatment. While crowdfunding can be a helpful resource, it's important to keep in mind that these platforms often charge fees for their services, which can reduce the total amount raised.

Family and Friends

Lastly, you may consider turning to your support network of family and friends for financial assistance. In some cases, loved ones may be willing to contribute funds, offer loans, or even provide free or low-cost accommodations for the family during the treatment process. It’s not unusual for family members to want to help out during these times and accepting financial support can be a great way to let them.

Navigating the financial aspects of adolescent treatment can be challenging, but it is essential to remember that there are various resources available to help ease the burden. Parents should thoroughly investigate their insurance coverage, financing options, and other alternatives to make informed decisions and find the most suitable solution for their family's needs. Ultimately, securing the right treatment and support for an adolescent struggling with addiction or behavioral health issues is a crucial step in helping them achieve a brighter future.

Remember to consult with professionals, such as insurance representatives, financial advisors, or treatment center staff, to gather the necessary information and guidance during this process.