Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program? How Much Does IOP Cost? Does Insurance Cover IOP? IOP Programs Near Me. How Long Does an Intensive Outpatient Program Last? Evening IOP Programs. Is IOP Right For Me?

Table of Contents

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Is IOP Right for Me & How to Find IOP Near Me

People seeking treatment for substance use disorder must be placed in an appropriate level of care. Along this “continuum of care,” there are five different levels. Each level of care increases in the hours of supervision and care offered. This means that individuals will be placed at higher or lower levels of care spending on the severity of their substance use disorder or the symptoms that occur during withdrawal.

Levels of Care Include:

  • Level 0.5: Early intervention services
  • Level 1: Outpatient Services1
  • Level 2.1: Intensive Outpatient Programs
  • Level 2.5: Partial Hospitalization Services
  • Level 3: Residential/Inpatient services
  • Level 6: (Detox) Medically managed intensive inpatient services

IOP is a lower level of care that can be utilized for many client needs. IOPs can be used as an introduction to treatment for clients with substance use disorder, as a transition to a lower level of care following an inpatient facility, or as a transition to a higher level of care following a relapse.

What Level of Care Do I Need?

As addiction experts, we can help you choose what level of care is right for you. By calling our admissions team today and providing them with a complete history of your substance use, we will ensure you find the resources you need to start your recovery at an appropriate level of care. 

Call to find the best fit for you: (855) 202-2183

Still unsure? After answering the question, “What is an intensive outpatient program,” we will break down: 

  • How much does IOP cost?
  • Does insurance cover IOP?
  • How to find an IOP program near you
  • How long does an intensive outpatient program last?
  • What is an evening intensive outpatient program (EIOP)?

All this information will help you answer the question, “Is IOP right for me?”

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a moderate level of care typically utilized to treat substance use disorders and other co-occurring mental health disorders. IOP addiction treatment is most often appropriate for individuals who are being discharged from inpatient facilities who are still experiencing moderately impaired functioning. This makes IOP addiction treatment the perfect level of care for the patient who is not ready for the less intensive care of an outpatient program (less than 9 hours per week) but also does not require the services of a residential or medically managed inpatient (24 hours/day).  IOP programs typically provide at least 9 hours of service a week, with most programs dividing this into three days over a 12-week period.2 However, it is important to note that this timeframe can be shorter or longer depending on the client’s needs. Different programs offer clients a diverse option of services during these 9 hours,  IOP Services Include: 
  • Fitness therapy
  • Individual Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Mindfulness therapy 
  • Advanced Daily Living Skills. 3
 But one of the biggest questions that you or a loved one will likely have before enrolling in an IOP is “How much does IOP for addiction treatment cost?” Next, we will cover the basics of treatment costs and whether or not you can expect insurance to help you pay for these services.

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How Much Does IOP Cost?

It should be no surprise that IOP programs’ treatment costs can vary greatly. A study conducted within the last decade found that the average price for a 10-week IOP treatment was about $7,000. However, treatment costs can be as low as $3,000 or as high as $10,000 for 30 days of services.4 These prices also vary from state to state. When considering treatment costs, it is vital to understand what you are paying for and whether or not these prices are justified by the services offered. Some factors that you must consider include location, type of counseling, whether it provides services for co-occurring disorders, and the duration of treatment.  It is vital to understand what factors make an IOP right for you or a loved one. These factors can be addressed and understood with the help of addiction professionals and admissions teams. Our admissions team can help you find out whether your insurance policy covers the IOP you wish to attend and if it’s the best fit for you.

Does Insurance Cover IOP?

The vast majority of IOP programs for addiction treatment can be covered by insurance, helping to keep out-of-pocket costs low to non-existent. To determine whether your policy covers the IOP program you would like to attend, contact your insurer by calling the number on the back of your insurance card5. From here, a customer service representative will walk you through your benefits to better understand your possible financial obligations before being admitted to your desired IOP.

This information can also be easily found by using your health insurer’s mobile app. 

Luckily, you can easily find out whether your insurance covers treatment costs by contacting IOPs and asking about the specific policies they accept and what they will need from you regarding documentation from your insurance. Many IOPs make it even easier by listing a phone number you can call to verify your insurance on their website. 6 

But first, it is vital to understand how to find an IOP you can attend.

IOP Programs Near Me

No matter where you live, simply googling “IOP Programs Near Me” will yield countless results of IOP programs in your area. However, this can lead to confusion as one sorts through the list of possible IOP programs they can attend. For this reason, it is recommended that you seek out recommendations from loved ones or close friends who have had experience with an IOP they trust. 

An even more effective option could be asking a therapist or psychiatrist you see for a recommendation to any treatment centers they would feel comfortable recommending to a patient (if they have not already made such recommendations). 

Finally, you can use The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s website to find programs nationwide. 

Once you find an IOP program that interests you, make sure to ask admissions coordinators any and every question you can. You are investing your time, money, and life by seeking treatment, and you deserve your concerns to be heard in a caring and supportive manner 7

Some questions can include:

  • How long can I expect to be in your care?
  • Will insurance cover my expenses, and how much can I expect to pay if not?
  • Can I continue to work and meet my financial obligations while in your care? If not, will a case manager be available to help me facilitate disability?
  • How many people do you treat at a time, and what are their common demographics?

No question is a dumb question when it comes to investing in an IOP that can help to save your life!

How Long Does an Intensive Outpatient Program Last?

One of the biggest questions that most people will want to ask an admissions coordinator is, “How long does an Intensive Outpatient Program last?” Whether due to familial, educational, or vocational responsibilities, it is important for those seeking an IOP to be educated on the average amount of time they can expect to be in an IOP for addiction treatment. While there is no specific time frame for all attending an intensive outpatient program, most facilities will recommend and offer treatment for a minimum of 90 days.

This is because research has suggested that a minimum of 3 to 6 months in treatment is necessary to sustain the gains made throughout one’s early recovery. This includes any gains made in higher levels of care attended before being admitted into IOP 8

While it is impossible to know just how long you will attend IOP, it is highly suggested that you consider only the programs that offer a minimum of 90 days or the even more effective option of 5 months. Although this sounds like a huge commitment, several options can make attending an IOP and continuing your normal life viable. One of those options could be finding an evening intensive outpatient program (EIOP).

Evening IOP Programs

Various IOPs offer scheduling during hours that do not conflict with traditional work hours. Evening intensive outpatient programs are an example of an IOP that can be easily integrated into someone’s life without disrupting day-to-day responsibilities. Many of these programs will offer treatment three nights a week for a minimum of 3-hour sessions. 

A typical IOP schedule you can expect to find might be:

  • Monday- 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday- 6:00 PM  to 9:00 PM 
  • Friday- 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM 9.

The different schedules offered by IOPS make it easy to find an IOP that works for you, whether an evening or day program.

Is IOP Right For Me?

Knowing how much an IOP can cost, how long it will last, and how to find one near you can help you understand whether IOP is right for you. However, the last thing you must know to answer this question is what to expect in an IOP.  Services that can be expected include:
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • group Counseling
  • Mindfulness Techniques
  • Much More 7
Finally, you may be amazed that many IOPs specialize in specific populations. Knowing that you are surrounded by like-minded people who share some aspects of your past and identity can make it easy to expect that your time in an IOP will be spent learning and healing through various therapeutic interventions. Examples of IOPs for special populations:
  • Veterans
  • First Responders
  • College Students
  • Adolescents
  • Elderly
  • Professionals
  • Homeless 
  • Marginalized and Underserved
Picture of Charles Hudak

Charles Hudak

Updated June 13, 2024
  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 47.) Chapter 3. Intensive Outpatient Treatment and the Continuum of Care. Available from: 
  2. McCarty, D., Braude, L., Lyman, D. R., Dougherty, R. H., Daniels, A. S., Ghose, S. S., & Delphin-Rittmon, M. E. (2014). Substance abuse intensive outpatient programs: Assessing the evidence. Psychiatric Services, 65(6), 718–726. 
  3. Tree House Recovery NC. (2021). Tree House Recovery’s Evening Intensive Outpatient Program in North Carolina. 
  4. Weber, L. (2014, October 16). Cost of Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Addiction Blog. 
  5. Talago, L. (2023, February 8). How an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Works for Mental Health Treatment. GoodRx Health. 
  6. Tree House Recovery. (2024). Complete Recovery Addiction Treatment Rehab. 
  7. Blanchfield, T. (2023, November 21). How an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Works. Verywell mind. 
  8. Proctor, S. L., Herschman, P. L. (2014). The continuing care model of substance use treatment: What works, and when is “enough,” “enough?” Psychiatric Journal, 2014, 1-16.