Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Consumer Financing for Addiction Treatment

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Consumer Financing for Addiction Treatment

Article excerpt

When Murrieta, Californiabased A Better Tomorrow lunched a consumer-financing program this past summer for individuals seeking treatment for drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions, its potential client base increased by more than 50%. Backed by private investors from the medical financing industry, A Better Tomorrow offers clients with good credit histories the ability to pay for their residential treatment for as little as $300 or $400 a month.

Such financing, of course, practically is unheard of in the addiction treatment business. Individuals with serious drug, alcohol, or gambling addictions are considered high-risk clients, so most private clinics do not offer them financing to cover theil cost of treatment.

Yet A Better Tomorrow discovered that families often can pool their resources to help loved ones obtain the treatment they need. While an addict may have a poor credit history, one or more of his/her family members usually do have good credit histories and the ability to co-sign loans on the addict's behalf. In fact, loans can be structured to involve multiple family members.

A Better Tomorrow has structured its financing programs so that no payments are required for the first six months. This gives a client ti me to complete the treatment program, obtain a job, and get back on his feet before it's time to start repaying the loan. The concept is working so well that A Better Tomorrow's owners are considering developing a similar financing program that could be made available to other rehabilitation centers across the country.

A Better Tomorrow's financing program was developed by Paul Howarth, CEO of Forterus, Inc., which acquired A Better To- morrow in August. Howarth co-founded A Better Tomorrow with other investors four years ago. Forterus believes that consumer financing programs are worthwhile because they can help addicts and their families pay for everything from professional interventions to residential treatment programs that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

The financial challenges facing America's drug and alcohol addicts are well documented. A 2006 SAMHSA survey found that 45% of addicts were unable to afford treatment for their addictions. …

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