Are you concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with a substance abuse issue? The truth is that over 23 million people in the United States struggle with substance abuse or addiction. Only 11 percent receive treatment. Given the expense of rehabilitation services, many people cannot afford to pay out of pocket for treatment. However, there may be hope for people struggling with substance disorders to get their treatment partially or fully covered through insurance if they have coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas.

Signs You May Need Rehab

Addiction and substance abuse manifest themselves differently in every patient. However, there are some warning signs consistent across most patients. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a family member, you may benefit from speaking with a doctor about rehabilitation options:

  • Hiding drug use, including drinking, from friends and family
  • Feeling shame or guilt over your substance use.
  • Feeling as if you can’t be yourself without the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Engaging in unsafe behaviors like driving under the influence
  • Being unable to complete work or school commitments.
  • Having drug-related encounters with the police.
  • Losing contact with family or friends due to your substance use.

If you or a family member is experiencing any of these symptoms you are insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, you may have a portion or the full amount of rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment covered by your plan.

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas Plans Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?

If you are interested in substance abuse treatment for drugs or alcohol and you are covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Arkansas, you may be in luck. Substance abuse treatment is considered part of the behavioral health treatments covered by the plan. Depending on your exact plan and level of coverage with BCBS, you may have the full or partial amount of alcohol and drug addiction treatment paid for. Patients with comprehensive health plans will pay a small or zero out-of-pocket amount to receive quality substance abuse treatment from professionals in Arkansas.

The History of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas was established in 1948 to offer affordable and comprehensive health insurance to the citizens of Arkansas and is the largest health insurer in the state. With over 2,500 employees and affiliates, BCBS Arkansas partners with nonprofits to invest in community health opportunities throughout the state.

Why Do We Need Substance Abuse Coverage?

With over 23 million Americans suffering from substance abuse or addiction, it is a problem affecting communities and society on a vast scale. Prior to scientific research and better understanding of how addiction works, it was assumed that it was a moral failing or decision that people made. We now know that addiction is a disease with a biological basis like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or heart disease. And like those diseases, it can also be treated.

Addiction is essentially a result of brain frontal cortex dysfunction, which changes how our brains process reward and punishment and how behaviors are learned or reinforced. This dysfunction deepens with repeated abuse as the body becomes more and more physically dependent upon the abused substance to continue functioning. The goal of medically treating substance abuse is to manage this disease and allow patients to live happy, full, and abuse-free lives.

When entering rehab, the patient needs to have full focus on the recovery process. Patients concerned with the total cost of treatment are less likely to attend in the first place or will be more likely to drop out and relapse if they feel that they or their family’s finances are taking a hit. For patients that must leave work or school to enter treatment, this stress is only compounded. By getting some or all of the treatment covered by insurance, patients can focus solely on the recovery and rehabilitation process.

How Does Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas Coverage Work?

Since substance abuse treatment is considered covered by the behavioral health benefits of the plan, all policy must be respected when submitting claims or entering treatment at a facility. With detox, inpatient, and outpatient care, preauthorization by insurance is required before incurring costs.

What is Detox?

Detoxification is the process of your body ridding itself of chemical dependence to a drug or alcohol by abstaining from the substance. This is a part of most rehab programs and often considered necessary for a patient to begin recovery. Depending on the extent of the addiction, it can take days or weeks for detox to end entirely.

During this time, it is common for a patient to suffer withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include anxiety, delusions, tremors, seizures, nausea, and others. Medically assisted detox provides medication and support to ease the discomfort of a detox while ensuring it occurs safely.

What are the Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

The right treatment program varies by the individual patient and the specific coverage of the insurance policy. The main differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment include:


  • Treatment can last longer than inpatient treatment, sometimes indefinitely.
  • Clients live at home and continue school or work.
  • Outpatient is preferable for clients who have already gone through detox and are away from drug or alcohol triggers.
  • Usually occurs every week – classes, group therapy, or individual therapy.


  • Treatment typically lasts between 30 and 90 days, but sometimes longer. It is not uncommon for some patients to spend over six months in an inpatient treatment program.
  • Clients have 24-hour medical supervision.
  • Cost of food and accommodation are included in price. Patients stay on-campus 24 hours per day, often in dormitories.
  • The patient will be unable to complete work or school obligations due to the full-time nature of inpatient rehab programs.
  • Therapy and skills classes happen daily, often for several hours per day. This usually includes group therapy as well as individual therapy.
  • Clients are kept away from environments or substances that may trigger abuse.

The right treatment for each patient varies, depending on their specific medical needs as well as their ability to be away from work, school, or family obligations. Some inpatient programs offer childcare services for patients to make their stay feasible, though inpatient may still be a bad fit due to a work situation. Many patients may benefit from detoxing in an inpatient program under close medical supervision and then continuing their recovery in an outpatient program where costs are lower, and the patient is still able to work.

Get Help Today

If you or a family member are struggling with substance abuse, you may be eligible for partial or total treatment coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas. Contact us today to learn more about your options.