If you have failed a DOT drug test, you’ll need to complete the Return-to-Duty process before returning to safety-sensitive job duties. This may involve drug counseling, online classes, meetings, or some form of substance abuse treatment. The cost of these programs vary greatly, and you may be worried about how you’ll pay for your RTD process. Will insurance pay for substance abuse treatment? Will my employer pay for my SAP program? The answers may surprise you…
The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to offer some form of substance abuse treatment coverage. That means that your health insurance may cover some portion of substance abuse treatment if it is required in your SAP program.
With that in mind, the amount of coverage varies greatly by policy. Some insurance plans also specify which types of substance abuse treatments are covered, or which providers they work with in-network. There is no guarantee that your insurance plan will cover the treatment you are required to complete for RTD.
Also keep in mind that you will likely have copayments for treatment sessions, or you may have a deductible to meet before coverage begins. You’ll need to review your options with your insurance provider to clarify the extent of your coverage.
The Department of Transportation does not have any regulations regarding who pays for a SAP program. Many employers pay for some or all of the program, while others require their employees to pay for the expenses. You can speak to your HR representative or review your labor-management agreement to see if there are any coverage options available through your employer. That may alleviate a portion of the costs for substance abuse treatment.
Substance abuse treatment may not be required as part of your RTD process. Your Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) will create a treatment, recovery or education plan based on your unique situation. If there is a notable history of substance abuse or the results of your failed drug test indicate that treatment might be necessary, you will have to comply in order to be cleared for safety-sensitive work. However, there is a chance that you will not need any treatment at all for your SAP program.
If the SAP recommends the employee to be able to return to safety-sensitive duty, it is the employer’s responsibility to schedule an observed RTD DOT drug test for the employee. The employee’s eligibility status is contingent upon a negative result for this DOT drug test. The decision to hire or return the eligible employee to work is at the discretion of the employer.
The only way to learn what steps you’ll have to take to return to work is to work with a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional. American Substance Abuse Professionals (ASAP) has over 5,000 SAPs throughout the country, and 85% of clients successfully get back to work following their SAP program.