How to Use Your HSA to Pay for Drug Detox

HSA paperwork

Although substance abuse and addiction is a widespread problem, there is a major treatment gap in America. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, less than one percent of Americans get the treatment they need.1 Many of those who do not receive treatment cite finances as one of the major roadblocks.

The cost of addiction treatment can vary greatly depending on various factors, but cost shouldn’t keep you from getting the help you deserve. Although most health insurance plans provide coverage for drug and alcohol addiction treatment services like inpatient detox, the extent of the coverage may vary. Additionally, those who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan may find themselves faced with higher out-of-pocket expenses for treatment.

Fortunately, if you have a health savings account (HSA), you can use these funds to relieve the burden of those out-of-pocket costs and pay for a high-quality medical detox program.

What is a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

An HSA is a health savings account that allows you to save untaxed money that can be used for qualified healthcare expenses.2 Many health insurance providers and employers offer HSAs but you may also open a health savings account through an individual financial institution.

An HSA is a great way to save for medical expenses and employers or other individuals may contribute to your HSA funds, as long as the contributions don’t exceed the annual limit set by the IRS. Any funds that are leftover in your HSA at the end of the year roll over into the next.

Additionally, once you open an HSA that money is owned and governed by you. That means if you open an employer-sponsored HSA, that money is still yours even after you retire or quit.

What Types of Medical Expenses are Covered by an HSA?

According to the IRS, HSA-qualified medical expenses include (but are not limited to):

  • Alcohol addiction treatment
  • Drug addiction treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Counseling and therapy
  • Laboratory fees
  • Hospital services
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic care
  • Dental treatment
  • Eye care (glasses, contacts, eye exams)3

For a full list of qualified medical expenses, please refer Publication 502 via the IRS website.

Who is Eligible to Open an HSA?

To be eligible and qualify for an HSA, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are covered under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP)
  • You have no other health coverage (excluding health coverage for accidents, disability, dental care, vision care, and long-term care)
  • You aren’t enrolled in Medicare
  • You can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2018 tax return4

Even if your spouse has non-HDHP family coverage, as long as it doesn’t cover you and you meet the requirements listed above, you are eligible to open an HSA.

What are the Benefits of Having an HSA?

There are many benefits of having an HSA, aside from just being able to use it to pay for drug detox. For example, here are some of the primary benefits.

  • Your money rolls over from year to year.
  • Interest earned on the assets in your HSA account is tax-free.
  • Your HSA stays with you even if you change jobs or retire.
  • HSA contributions made by your employer can be excluded from your gross income.
  • You can claim a tax deduction for contributions that you, your employer, or someone else made to your HSA.
  • Payments for eligible medical expenses are tax-free.

How to Pay for Drug Detox with an HSA

HSA funds can be used to pay for drug and alcohol detox but your HSA must be set up and funded before it can be used to pay for any immediate medical treatment So if you do not already have a health savings account, you will need to use alternative form(s) of payment for drug detox, some of which are listed at the end of this article.

Otherwise, accessing your HSA funds for detox treatment is fairly straightforward. First, you will need to contact your health insurance provider or the financial institution that manages your HSA and tell them that you would like to use some or all of your funds to pay for drug or alcohol addiction treatment. Then, you will need to communicate and coordinate that payment with the drug detox treatment provider of your choice.

The admissions representatives at Briarwood Detox Center are available now to help you facilitate the payment process if you’d like to use your HSA to pay for drug detox. Our admissions representatives are familiar with all forms of payment and can help simplify and streamline the process for you.

If the money you have available in your HSA does not cover the total amount you need to pay for drug detox, you may choose to pay any remaining costs out-of-pocket and request reimbursement at a later date after you have accumulated the necessary funds in your HSA.

How to Use Your HSA to Pay for Drug Rehab: 3 Easy Steps

  1. Call your health insurance provider or the financial institution that manages your HSA.
  2. Tell them you’d like to use your HSA to pay for drug or alcohol addiction treatment.
  3. Communicate with a Briarwood Detox Center admissions specialists to easily coordinate payment.

Alternative Ways to Pay for Drug Detox

If you don’t already have a health savings account, there are several other effective ways to pay for drug detox.

  • Healthcare loans: Financed healthcare loans can help you cover the cost of drug detox with smaller monthly payments stretched over a longer period of time. Although this can alleviate the issue of higher costs upfront, your ability to get a loan will depend on your credit history and current financial standing.
  • Credit card: A low-interest rate or no-interest credit card may not be the ideal way to pay for drug detox, but it can work in a pinch.
  • EAP Benefits: If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), these benefits can help you access low-cost detox treatment services for drug and alcohol addiction. If you’re unsure how to access these benefits, an admissions representative at Briarwood Detox Center can help.
  • Crowdfunding: Online crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe or Fundly are excellent ways to raise money for your drug detox. If you have friends and family who would like to contribute to help you get sober, this might be a good option.

Begin Your Recovery Journey with a Medical Detox Program

A medical detox program is often the first step toward a life in recovery. If you or a loved one is ready to begin this journey to sobriety but you’re unsure of how you will pay for detox treatment, we can help you explore all your payment options to determine what works best for you. Call (888) 857-0557 to get started today.


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends
  2. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf
  3. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
  4. https://www.irs.gov/publications/p969

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