According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 24 million Americans are struggling with addiction. And even more staggering, only 11 percent of those with a substance abuse problem ever receive treatment. As far as the reasons for not seeking treatment, there are several. In some cases, those who have a problem with drugs or alcohol fail to recognize that they have a problem. In other cases, the cost of substance abuse treatments can be more than some people can afford.

The costs associated with treating a drug or alcohol addiction at a licensed rehab facility can range between $2,000 and $25,000, according to, a web resource provided and funded by Advanced Recovery Systems. Fortunately, federal laws have been enacted that requires all health insurance policies include coverage for substance abuse treatments. For those with a substance abuse problem and have coverage under Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Arizona, this means that getting the help you need to overcome your addiction just got a little easier.


The tell-tale signs of addiction can vary from one individual to the next. Also, the specific substance that an individual is addicted to can play a role in how some symptoms will reveal themselves. That said, some of the more common signs of addiction include

  • Concealing one’s drinking or drug use from friends and family
  • Feelings of shame
  • Turning to substance abuse to compensate for feelings of inadequacy
  • A decline in performance at work or school
  • Legal problems
  • Broken friendships and relationships

This list is not an encapsulation of all symptoms associated with drug or alcohol addiction; however, it is a list of a few of the most common. If you have noticed any of these signs within yourself, it may be indicative of a problem. And Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona can help you get the treatment you need to turn your life around.


Whether you’re an existing policyholder or a prospective policyholder, a Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance policy can go a long way toward making substance abuse treatments more cost-effective. According to its website, coverage for substance abuse treatments is one of many components of the company’s behavioral health benefits package. That said, members with comprehensive BCBS coverage will either pay nothing for their substance abuse treatments or will be responsible for a small percentage of their treatment costs.


Substance abuse coverage under a BCBS policy is not too dissimilar from that of any other primary health insurance provider in that some treatments will require a letter of medical necessity from a licensed physician as well as prior authorization. To that point, members and prospective members are encouraged to speak with a BCBS representative to verify the specifics of their policy. All in all, the following treatments will be covered in some capacity under a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona health insurance policy:

Detox– This aspect of addiction recovery is considered the most critical. During rehab, the body works to rid itself of drugs and other harmful contaminants once an individual has stopped using. While a valuable aspect of overcoming one’s addiction, detox also ushers in a wave of severe withdrawal symptoms that quickly derail one’s recovery efforts and could lead to relapse. Some of the harsh withdrawal symptoms associated with detox include nausea, vomiting, anxiety, fevers, and tremors. To help make detox easier and give members the best chance at achieving long-term sobriety, BCBS offers coverage for medically-assisted detox. For those who may not be familiar with medically-assisted detox, it entails providing individuals with prescription-based medication like Suboxone, Naltrexone, Methadone, and certain benzodiazepines to help them cope with the rigors of going through rehab.

Outpatient treatment– This type of treatment is best suited for those with a mild substance abuse problem and is often recommended to those with family or other obligations that may preclude them from seeking treatment at an inpatient facility. Outpatient programs are classified as intensive outpatient (IOP) or partial hospitalization (PHP), and they both provide members with access to physicians, addiction education courses, and substance abuse counselors. Of course, the number of treatment sessions an individual needs to attend will depend on their specific outpatient program.

Inpatient treatment– There are several parallels between outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment when it comes to the type of care members can expect to receive. However, inpatient treatment, which can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, is a better choice for those struggling with a severe addiction that requires around-the-clock monitoring.

There are several things to take into account when deciding between an inpatient and outpatient rehab program. As such, those needing help choosing the right program that best meets their needs are encouraged to speak with a BCBS representative.


There are two schools of thought when it comes to overcoming drug or alcohol addiction, quitting cold turkey or a slow tapering off approach. Most physicians and addiction experts will agree that a gradual tapering off approach is not only the safest but also the most effective way for individuals to end their relationship with drugs or alcohol. However, this approach requires receiving substance treatments from a licensed rehab facility. Of course, this is not to suggest that quitting cold turkey is ineffective; however, doing so can be very taxing on the body and can lead to even more intense withdrawal symptoms than slowly weaning yourself off of drugs or alcohol.

Also, these withdrawals symptoms can trigger a relapse. According to some studies, abrupt drug or alcohol cessation can have a profound impact on the nervous system, insomuch that an individual may experience seizures and heart problems. Further, quitting cold turkey decreases the body’s tolerance to these substances, which means that the risk of overdose is even higher if an individual starts using again. If quitting cold turkey does not trigger severe withdrawal symptoms, it may result in serious emotional problems like depression and anxiety, for example.


Another benefit of seeking substance abuse treatment at a licensed rehab facility is that they are familiar with how drugs and alcohol impact the brain. As such, they are well-equipped to address these problems and help individuals safely overcome their addiction. To further illustrate this point, drug and alcohol addiction can rewire a user’s brain and alter how they perceive pleasure and rewards. The more an individual consumes drugs or alcohol, the more the brain identifies these substances as being pleasurable. Once the brain senses that it is no longer being rewarded with these substances, it triggers a plethora of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

All in all, the impact that substance abuse can have on an individual’s physical and emotional health can be profound. Fortunately, the right health insurance can help make treatment not only more accessible but also more affordable. To learn more about how a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona health insurance policy can help you overcome your addiction, consider speaking with one of our friendly and compassionate representatives today.