What occurs on day 28? Does the human brain re-wire? Do yearnings cease? After four weeks of therapy, is the struggle suddenly over?
No, no and no.
Scientists have not uncovered that 28 days is the ideal period of time for rehab therapy. Far from it.
Here’s what takes place on day 28: Insurance plans stops paying out. Yep, it’s that simple. Insurance companies generally pay for no more than 28 or 30 days of inpatient care. So, that’s how long it lasts.
This pattern began with recovery programs in the military. In the 1970s, the first addiction program was set up in the U.S. Air Force. How did they choose the length of treatment? Military personnel could be away from duty for no more than four weeks without being reassigned. The 28-day programs enabled men and women in the Air Force to get treatment and get back to their responsibilities, preventing reassignment.
Other programs started to follow suit and, subsequently, insurance companies made a decision to use this standard, as well. Many years later, the method continues.
A New Bag of Tricks
Sadly, the 28-day program has shown to be way off base. It has no grounds in research, psychology or scientific facts. We now understand that this time period can be way too short to prove helpful. We also have a far better comprehension of the need for a variety of treatment approaches and lengths.
A “one-size-fits-all” 28-day program just simply won’t work for everyone.
In fact, study shows that, if there is a magic number, it’s most likely 90 days. Even though it’s still not a perfect process, numerous studies have shown treatment that lasts at least 90 days is much more reliable, resulting in far fewer relapses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) documents that both residential and outpatient treatments lasting less than 90 days have minimized effectiveness. The NIH recommends noticeably longer treatment to provide long-term results.
No Magic Wand for Insurance Companies
Despite having the evidence, insurance companies are still stuck in the 70’s. Carriers hardly provide full coverage for the longer treatment that’s needed. And rehab can get really pricey.
Even the old-school 28-day inpatient programs are seldom less than $10,000. Some, such as those favored among celebrities, can cost as much as $33,000. Even so, since these programs fall under the 30-day cut-off for insurance, they may be covered. For those who pursue the more effective, 90-day programs, the total bill commonly ranges from $12,000 to $60,000– and they may or may not be covered by insurance options or programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
As more and more information mounts against the 28-day model, the hope is that insurance companies will join the new trend. Making longer programs more cost effective could make an impact in millions of lives. Now that’s magical.
Call Aion Recovery at 888-811-2879 to learn more about treatment and recovery for addiction.