Government eliminates user fees for Albertans seeking addictions treatment

·1 min read

Albertans will no longer have to pay out-of-pocket to receive treatment for addictions.

The provincial government announced Friday morning that the $40-per-day user fee to access publicly-funded residential treatment beds — or, $2,400 for 60 days of therapy — has been eliminated.

"We are giving all Albertans — regardless of their financial situation — the opportunity to recover and build a better life. Recovery is for everyone," Jason Luan, associate minister of mental health and addictions, stated in the news release.

Low-income Albertans already had their costs for treatment covered by the government. According to the news release, these supports were accessed by about 200 clients in the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program and another 2,500 individuals who qualified for provincial income support.

The change, said the news release, will make residential addiction treatment available for "students, senior citizens, and people in the workforce who make too much to qualify for Income Support, but not enough to pay privately."

The news release did not include any indication of how many Albertans on average pay for treatment out of pocket, but noted that the cost could have been a barrier to even seeking help.

"It's hard to see people who need treatment have to make difficult decisions about how to pay for it," Kim Turgeon, executive director of Aventa, a Calgary treatment centre, stated in the release.

"Improving access so that people can get the help they need, without worrying about the financial cost, will change people's lives, especially during a time of economic uncertainty."

There are 73 publicly funded facilities offering residential addiction treatment in Alberta.