September 5


Get the Scoop: How Much Does Inpatient Mental Health Really Cost

By Joshua Turner

September 5, 2023

Mental health is an aspect of overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act and can impact our daily lives significantly. Inpatient mental health care is a form of treatment that provides intensive, round-the-clock care for people experiencing severe issues. While this type of care can be essential for some individuals, it can also come with a high price tag.

The cost can vary widely depending on various factors, including the type of facility, the length of stay, and the specific services received.

Understanding the price is necessary for anyone needing this type of treatment and their loved ones and caregivers.

Individuals can decide about their mental health care needs by exploring the factors that can affect the price and the various options for insurance coverage and financial assistance.

Key Takeaways

  • Inpatient mental health care is a treatment for individuals experiencing severe issues.
  • The price can vary widely depending on factors such as the type of facility and length of stay.
  • Understanding insurance coverage and financial assistance options can help individuals decide about their needs.

Understanding Inpatient Mental Health

Inpatient mental health is a treatment involving admission to a psychiatric hospital or facility for individuals with psychological disorders or conditions. This treatment is recommended for individuals who require 24-hour care and monitoring due to the severity of their illness or symptoms.

During treatment, patients receive a comprehensive evaluation to determine the best course of treatment. This evaluation includes a physical examination, psychological assessment, and diagnostic testing. Treatment plans are tailored to each patient’s needs and may consist of medication, psychotherapy, and other forms of therapy.

The treatment is typically more expensive than outpatient treatment due to the round-the-clock care and specialized services provided. However, it may be covered by insurance or other financial assistance.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health condition or disorder, seek help immediately. It can provide the necessary care and support to help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Cost of Inpatient Mental Health

The cost varies depending on several factors, such as the length of stay, type of treatment, and location.

The average price in the United States ranges from around $6,000 to $8,000 for a week to 11 days. However, some facilities charge much more, with some private hospitals charging up to $10,000 daily.

Insurance coverage can significantly reduce the price of treatment. Most insurance plans cover it, but the coverage amount and limitations vary. Check with your insurance provider to understand the coverage and any out-of-pocket costs you may incur.

Factors Affecting Cost

One of the most significant factors is the type of therapy or treatment required. Some specialized treatment options, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can be more expensive than other forms of treatment.

Another factor that can affect the price is medication. The price of drugs can vary depending on the type of medication prescribed and the duration of treatment. Patients with long-term drugs may have to pay more than those needing short-term medicines.


The length of hospitalization can also affect the price and vary depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, and more extended hospital stays can result in higher costs.

Specialized treatment options, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), can also impact the cost. These treatments require specialized equipment and trained professionals, adding to the overall price.

The psychiatric hospital or facility can also affect the cost. Private facilities may charge higher rates than public facilities, and the facility’s location can also impact the price.

Insurance Coverage for Mental Health

Most insurance plans cover it to some extent, but the level of coverage can vary widely.

Health insurers are required by law to provide some coverage, thanks to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This means that insurance plans must cover treatment at the same level as physical health care.

However, insurance loopholes can still make getting the necessary coverage difficult for some people. For example, some private insurance plans may have higher deductibles or copays for treatment than other types of medical care.

Managed care plans, designed to control healthcare prices, may also limit the coverage for mental health treatment. This can be incredibly challenging for people with severe conditions requiring longer inpatient care.

Medicare and Medicaid’s Role

Medicare Part A covers inpatient psychiatric hospital stays, including room and board, medications, and other necessary services. However, it is vital to note that there are limits on the number of days covered under Medicare Part A, and copayments may apply after a certain number of days.

Medicaid covers inpatient mental health treatment as well, including hospital stays and other necessary services. Medicaid also covers outpatient services, including therapy and medication management. Eligibility for Medicaid varies by state, and income and other factors may affect an individual’s eligibility.

While Medicare and Medicaid may cover some or all of the cost of treatment, there may be limitations or restrictions on the type of treatment covered. Check with your healthcare and insurance providers to determine what services are covered and what out-of-pocket costs may apply.

Mental Health Care Access in the United States

Access to mental health care in the United States is a complex issue that affects millions of Americans. While there have been efforts to improve access to care, many individuals still face significant barriers to receiving the treatment they need.

One major barrier is the price, which can be extremely expensive, ranging from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars per stay. These are simply unaffordable for many individuals, leaving them needing access to the care they need.

Another barrier is the need for more professionals in some regions of the country. Rural areas, in particular, often have fewer professionals available, making it difficult for individuals living in these areas to access care.

Many individuals face stigma and discrimination when seeking care, which can deter them from seeking treatment altogether. This is especially true for marginalized communities, such as people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community, who may face additional hindrances to accessing care due to systemic discrimination and bias.

Mental Health Among Different Populations

Certain populations may be more vulnerable to developing psychological conditions than others. For example, women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than men, while men are more likely to develop substance use disorders. Adults aged 18-25, also known as young adults, experience higher rates of disorders than any other age group.

Conversely, children may develop them due to various factors such as trauma, abuse, or neglect. Women with children may also face unique challenges related to parenting, work-life balance, and social support.

Mental health disparities exist among different ethnic groups in America. For instance, African and Hispanic Americans have a higher prevalence of disorders but are less likely to receive treatment than white Americans.

Acknowledge these differences and provide tailored services to meet the unique needs of each population. Doing so can ensure everyone has access to quality care and support.

Mental Health and Covid-19

The pandemic has brought a lot of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, which can lead to mental health issues. The isolation and social distancing measures have made it difficult for people to access services.

Telehealth has become the norm during the pandemic and has been a crucial tool for mental health services. Telehealth has allowed people to access services from the comfort of their homes, which has been especially important during the pandemic. It has also made services more accessible to people who live in rural or remote areas.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of mental health in our society. It has been a neglected area of healthcare for a long time, but the pandemic has brought it to the forefront. The pandemic has shown how important it is to have access to services and how vital it is to invest in it.

Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) is a federal law that requires health insurance plans to provide equal coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as they do for medical and surgical care.

This means that insurance companies cannot impose more restrictive limitations on mental health and substance use disorder benefits than they do for medical and surgical benefits.

For example, insurance companies cannot impose higher co-pays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket maximums for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

The MHPAEA applies to most employer-sponsored and individual and small-group health plans. However, it does not apply to Medicaid plans that are not managed care plans or to specific self-funded employer plans.

Mental Health Professionals and Providers

Mental health professionals are trained and licensed individuals who provide services to patients. These professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and practitioners. Doctors can also provide them but are not necessarily trained in mental health care.

Choose a provider experienced in treating the specific condition that you or your loved one is experiencing. Different providers may have other areas of expertise, so research and find the right match.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health. They can prescribe medication and provide therapy to patients. On the other hand, practitioners are not medical doctors, but they are trained to treat patients.

When it comes to cost, mental health professionals and providers can vary in their fees. Some may accept insurance, while others may require payment upfront. Check with your insurance provider to see what services your plan covers.

Common Mental Health Disorders and Their Costs

The costs for inpatient mental health care vary. Generally, the prices range from $10,000 to $60,000 per month for psychiatric residential treatment facilities. On the other hand, the costs for sober living facilities can be up to $10,000 a month. The costs vary due to the facility’s environment and the treatments offered.

Here are some of the most common disorders for inpatient mental health treatment:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Abuse
  • Pain
  • Behavioral problems

 Insurance coverage can greatly affect out-of-pocket costs for patients and their families.

The Uninsured and Mental Health Care

Without insurance coverage, individuals may have to pay the full treatment price out of pocket. This can be incredibly challenging for those living below the federal poverty level, who may struggle to afford necessities.

Fortunately, options are available for the uninsured and in need of care. Many community health centers offer services on a sliding scale based on income, making care more affordable for those with lower incomes.

Some states offer programs that provide free or low-cost services to uninsured individuals. These programs may have income eligibility requirements or other restrictions, so check with your state’s health department for options.

While the cost can be high, it’s important to remember that seeking treatment is an investment in your health and well-being. Don’t let financial concerns prevent you from getting the help you need.

Costs and Outcomes

In general, inpatient treatment tends to be more expensive than outpatient treatment.

Despite the higher costs, it can lead to better outcomes for individuals with serious illnesses. Studies have shown that inpatient treatment can help reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and decrease the likelihood of hospital readmission.

They are often covered by insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare. Some facilities offer financial assistance or sliding-scale fees based on income.

Additional Costs to Consider

There are several other expenses that patients may need to consider. One of the most significant is the deductible, the amount the patient must pay out of pocket before their insurance coverage kicks in. Depending on the specifics of the insurance policy, this deductible can be several thousand dollars.

Patients should also be aware of any spending limits or caps on their insurance coverage. Some policies may limit the amount they will pay for treatment, leaving patients responsible for a significant portion of the cost.


Another factor to consider is the payment method. Some insurance policies may require patients to pay a portion of the cost upfront, while others may allow for payment plans or other forms of financing.

Patients should be aware of any co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses they may be responsible for. These can vary widely depending on the insurance policy and the specific treatment plan, so carefully review all the details before beginning treatment.

Support and Counseling Services

Support and counseling services can help patients cope with their conditions and provide them with the tools to manage their symptoms effectively.

Support services may include group therapy sessions, peer support groups, and family therapy sessions. These services can help patients feel less alone and provide them with a safe space to share their experiences and feelings with others who understand what they are going through.

Counseling services may include individual therapy sessions with a licensed therapist. These sessions can help patients explore the underlying causes of their condition, develop coping strategies, and work towards achieving their treatment goals.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Services

Inpatient services involve staying at a facility for an extended period, while outpatient services involve visiting a facility for appointments and returning home afterward.

Inpatient services tend to be more expensive than outpatient services. This is because inpatient services require 24/7 care, supervision, and room and board. Outpatient services, on the other hand, are typically less expensive because they do not need these additional accommodations.

However, the cost difference between inpatient and outpatient services can vary depending on the treatment needed. For example, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) can be more expensive than some inpatient programs because they involve more frequent and intensive therapy sessions.

Prescription Medications and Mental Health

These medications can help alleviate symptoms of conditions and improve overall quality of life. They can be used alone or in combination with therapy and other interventions.

The cost of prescription medications can vary widely depending on the type of medication and the individual’s insurance coverage. Some may be more expensive, and insurance coverage can vary widely.

However, many insurance plans cover prescription medications, and some may even be available at a reduced cost through programs like patient assistance programs or discount drug cards.

Patients should always talk to their doctor or mental health provider about their concerns regarding the price of prescription medications. There may be options to help make these medications more affordable and accessible.

Affordability and Accessibility

Many people may hesitate to seek treatment due to the high costs associated with inpatient care. However, there are options available to make it more affordable and accessible.

One option is to inquire about sliding scale fees based on a person’s income and ability to pay. This can make inpatient care more affordable for those who may not be able to afford it otherwise. It’s essential to inquire about this option when seeking treatment.

Another option is to check with insurance providers for covered services. Many insurance providers cover inpatient care, which can help make it more affordable for those with insurance coverage.


Accessibility is also a significant concern. Find a facility that is easily accessible, whether through public transportation or other means of transportation. Many facilities offer transportation services to their patients, making it easier for those without transportation to access care.

Prevention and Mental Health

Taking steps to prevent them can save much money in the long run. Here are some ways to avoid them:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help. Avoid smoking, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Manage stress: Learning to manage stress through relaxation techniques, meditation, or therapy can help prevent them.
  • Build a support system: Having a solid support system of friends and family can help prevent mental health issues. Seek professional help when needed.
  • Address underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can contribute to these. Addressing these underlying conditions can help prevent them.

Preventing issues may require an upfront investment, but it can save much money in the long run. Prevention is not guaranteed, and seeking professional help when needed is always the best course of action.

Mental Health and Workplace Productivity

When employees struggle with mental health issues, their work performance can suffer, leading to lower productivity. They are estimated to cost employers billions of dollars each year in lost productivity.

However, addressing it in the workplace can positively impact productivity. Promoting mental wellness and providing resources for employees who may be struggling can help the workforce stay engaged and focused on their work.

One Mind at Work, a global coalition focused on improving workplace mental health, recommends several strategies for promoting it in the workplace. These include creating a supportive work environment, providing resources and support, and offering training for managers and employees.

Urban Areas and Mental Health Care

Seeking care in urban areas can be both convenient and expensive. Finding a therapist or psychiatrist accepting new patients may be easier with more providers. However, the cost of care in urban areas can be significantly higher than in rural areas.

In addition to inpatient care, outpatient therapy, and medication management can be expensive in urban areas.

Many providers in urban areas accept insurance, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients. However, some providers may not accept specific insurance plans or may have a limited number of insurance contracts, which can limit access to affordable care.

Special Reports and Studies

Several studies and reports have been conducted to understand the cost of inpatient mental health treatment.

Tufts Medical Center conducted a study that found that inpatient psychiatric treatment costs $5,000 per day. The study also showed that the average length of stay was around 10 days, which means that the total cost of treatment can add up quickly.

Angela Kimball, the national director of advocacy and public policy at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, stated that the cost of inpatient treatment can be a significant burden on families and individuals. She emphasized the importance of insurance coverage for treatment, as it can help reduce the financial burden.

Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Facilities

Substance abuse rehabilitation facilities are designed to help individuals struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. These facilities provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to detox and receive treatment for their addiction.

The cost can vary depending on several factors, including the length of stay, the level of care required, and the location of the facility. On average, the cost of a 30-day stay in a facility can range from $6,000 to $20,000.

Many facilities accept insurance, which can help offset the treatment cost. Check with your insurance provider to see what services are covered and what your out-of-pocket expenses may be.

Some substance abuse rehabilitation facilities may offer sliding scale fees or financial assistance for those who cannot afford to pay for treatment. Inquire about these options when researching different facilities.

Medical Insurance and Mental Health

Many insurance plans offer coverage for services, including inpatient care. However, not all programs are created equal, and coverage can vary significantly.

Coinsurance is also a factor to consider regarding inpatient costs. This is the percentage of the total price the patient is responsible for paying out of pocket after the insurance company has paid their portion. Check with your insurance provider to understand your coinsurance percentage for services.

For insurance to cover inpatient treatment, it must be deemed medically necessary. This means that the patient must have a condition requiring inpatient care to receive proper treatment. Work with your healthcare provider to ensure that your treatment is deemed medically necessary by your insurance provider.

The Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 8 people globally will experience a mental health disorder at some point. In the United States alone, an estimated 1 in 5 adults experience illness each year.

Mental health disorders can affect people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. However, certain groups may be more vulnerable to developing disorders, such as those who have experienced trauma, those with a family history of mental illness, and those with a history of substance abuse.

Physical Ailments and Mental Health

Physical ailments and mental health are often interconnected. People with chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders. The same can be said for people with illnesses, who are more likely to develop physical health problems.

Recognizing the link between physical ailments and mental health is vital to provide comprehensive care to individuals. Healthcare providers must consider their patients’ physical and psychological health to ensure adequate treatment.

Individuals with physical ailments and mental health disorders may face higher healthcare costs. They may require more specialized care, medications, and frequent hospitalizations. It is necessary to consider these costs when planning for healthcare expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does insurance cover mental hospital stays?

Many insurance plans cover some or all of the costs associated with inpatient hospitalization. However, the amount of coverage can vary greatly depending on the individual’s plan and the hospital they choose. Check with your insurance provider to understand your scope.

How much does it cost to commit yourself to a hospital?

The cost of committing yourself to a hospital can vary depending on the hospital and the level of care needed. On average, a 30-day stay in a hospital can cost between $12,000 and $60,000. However, insurance can help cover some or all of these costs.

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