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Compare Health Insurance for Drug Addiction Treatment

Sally Aquire April 19th, 2012 0 comments
Health insurance

It is a common misconception that drug addiction only affects certain groups of people. In reality, it may affect anyone and can be very hard to overcome. Not sure what support may be available if it happens to you? There may be more help out there than you think.

What is drug addiction?

In short, drug addiction involves being overly reliant on any drug. This may be to the extent that a drug addict cannot function properly without taking their “fix”. Tolerance may also build up so that more of the drug needs to be consumed to have the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms may occur if the drug is not taken.

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Contrary to popular opinion, this “fix” does not need to involve drugs such as heroin, cocaine or cannabis. Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines can be just as damaging if an addiction takes hold.

How is drug addiction treated?

Treatment for drug addiction has several aims. These involve breaking the addiction cycle, coping with withdrawal symptoms and dealing with relapses.

Psychological treatment is a key part of treating drug addiction. Behavioural therapy may be used to change thinking patterns, for example. Medicines that counter or block the drug’s effects in the brain may be used, depending on the type of drug addiction.

Can Medicare help?

Medicare may be able to help with the mental health side of things. Up to ten allied mental health services per calendar year are offered through the Better Access Initiative. The first step is to visit your GP to see if you might be eligible for support. He or she may then prepare a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or refer you to a psychiatrist. You may be able to choose your own psychiatrist if you prefer. However, make sure that he or she has a Medicare Provider Number. There may be out-of-pocket costs if the psychiatrist charges above the Medicare benefit.

What about private health insurance?

Private health insurance can help in several ways. Drug addiction treatment may be on an in-patient or out-patient basis. Private health insurance will not cover out-patient treatment. For GP and specialist consultations, Medicare will pay benefits.

Hospital cover. You may be able to get financial support for residential drug rehabilitation treatment. This may include in-patient stays and day or evening programs. Some of the fees for medical practitioners may also be covered. Fees depend on how long you stay in hospital and what type of support you receive. Check whether yours is one of the health funds that will cover this type of treatment. You may be covered for overnight and same day hospital stays. In-patient psychiatric services are also covered.

General treatment cover. Psychology is available as an extra on private health insurance. Bear in mind that there is typically a two month waiting period attached. If you do not already have this cover, you will not be able to claim until you have served this waiting period. If you are given medication, this may not be subsidised on the Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme. For non-PBS medicines, you can choose pharmacy cover as an extra on your health insurance.

Be sure to compare health funds, as there may be limitations. For example, psychology may be restricted or not covered at all by some private health funds. Finding the right cover for drug addiction treatment needs may involve a detailed health insurance comparison.

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