Avoiding addiction treatment scams

Learn about out-of-state addiction treatment scams and how to avoid them.

Beware of offers from out-of-state treatment facilities

The Attorney General's Office has received multiple reports of attempts to recruit Massachusetts residents with substance use disorder to travel to so-called "treatment centers" in Arizona, California, or Florida. These recruiters often use texts or social media to recruit patients. The recruiters may offer to pay for airfare and health insurance to cover the costs of treatment.

According to some reports, the out-of-state treatment centers provide little or no care to patients. In other instances, the recruiters have stopped paying insurance premiums, which has resulted in patients getting removed from treatment facilities and stranded without access to housing, health care, or financial resources to return to Massachusetts.

How to recognize an out-of-state treatment scam

If someone offers to arrange for you or a loved one to travel out-of-state to receive addiction treatment, or if they offer to cover your insurance payments, you should keep the following things in mind to protect yourself from a scam:

  • Anyone seeking to arrange for addiction treatment out-of-state may be getting paid by the treatment center for recruiting you or your loved one. 
  • In Massachusetts, it is illegal for recruiters to accept payment for referring you to treatment.
  • Anyone paid a referral fee for recommending a particular treatment center does not have your best interests in mind.
  • Be wary of anyone offering to pay for your insurance coverage. They can stop paying your premiums at any time, which will result in the cancellation of your insurance.
  • If you accept an offer by someone to pay for travel to an out-of-state clinic, make sure you have a plan and the means to pay for a trip back home.
  • Be careful about giving your personal information – including your social security number or insurance number – to a recruiter, unless you can confirm that the person is employed by a medical provider or insurance company.
  • If someone is offering to arrange travel or cover insurance costs for treatment, call the treatment facility or your insurance company to confirm if the person is an employee and the offer is legitimate.

What to do if you are the victim of a scam

If you believe you have are the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Attorney General online or call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Health Care Helpline at 1-888-830-6277 or 617-727-4765 (TTY).

Find safe access to treatment in Massachusetts

To find treatment options for substance use disorder in Massachusetts, contact the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Hotline at 800-327-5050. If you are insured by MassHealth, you can also contact the Massachusetts Behavior Health Partnership. at 1-800-495-0086 or 1-877-509-6981 (TTY).

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