Here’s Who Pays For A 5150 Hold In California

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 1, 2023
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A 5150 hold, synonymous with involuntary psychiatric holds, is a critical resource in California’s mental health care landscape.

Yet, one question often arises: “Who pays for a 5150 hold?”

In California, insurance policies, including those from private providers and Medicaid, often cover the cost of a 5150 hold. Out-of-pocket expenses, however, can be high for people and families without insurance.

Let’s break down the complexities surrounding this issue of certification review hearing. Because the costs of a 5150 can be high and financially debilitating.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is especially qualified to write about challenging a 72-hour psych hold because we have lived experience in the mental health space, including working in residential and mental health treatment facilities and as licensed counselors.

We’ve been a part of many 5150 holds, so we know how traumatic the experience can be for people who give up their freedom on their own.

We are a reliable source for such sensitive and important topics because we transparently research mental health problems, treatments, and the healthcare system, and we are committed to giving correct information based on available research.

Qualifying for a 5150 Hold

5150 - Psychiatric Hold - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

In California, a 5150 hold applies to individuals considered a danger to themselves or others due to a mental disorder. Mental health professionals, such as therapists, psychiatrists, and authorized police officers, can initiate this hold if they believe someone meets these criteria.

What Makes Someone Eligible for a 5150?

  • Danger to Self: If someone shows immediate signs of self-harm, they can be placed under a 5150 hold.
  • Danger to Others: If someone poses an immediate threat to others, a 5150 hold can be applied.
  • Gravely Disabled: If someone’s mental disorder or serious disability prevents them from meeting basic personal needs, they may be eligible for a 5150 hold. Professionals who can initiate a 5150 hold include police officers and designated mental health professionals.
  • Insurance usually covers the costs of a 5150 hold, but uninsured individuals may have out-of-pocket expenses.

Mental Illness, Violence, and Suicide

Mental illness, violence, and suicide are interconnected issues that may require immediate crisis intervention. These are the most common reasons why the 5150s get called.

  • Mental illnesses are health conditions affecting emotions, thoughts, and behavior.
  • Some individuals with severe mental illness may display violent behavior due to difficulty controlling emotions.
  • Not everyone with a mental illness is violent, and not all violent acts are committed by individuals with mental illness.
  • Mental illness can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts, and a 5150 hold is used to ensure safety.

The 5150 Process

Once initiated, the individual is taken to a designated mental health facility for evaluation and treatment. Medical professionals assess the person’s mental state within the first few hours of admission, determining whether they meet the criteria for the hold. Only rarely can an individual get out of a 5150 hold.

Duration and Course of a 5150 Hold

The hold lasts up to 72 hours, during which the individual receives medical and psychiatric attention. The hold can be extended under sections 5250 or 5270 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, allowing for additional evaluation and involuntary treatment time.

Costs of a 5150 Hold (With Insurance)

The cost of a 5150 hold varies, largely depending on the treatment facility used and length of stay. It’s typically covered by insurance, including private insurance and Medicaid. However, those without insurance may face significant out-of-pocket expenses.

In some cases, if a physician admits a person, they may be required to pay a small fee of around $50-60. Insurance usually covers this, but it could be an out-of-pocket expense for uninsured individuals.

Costs of a 5150 Hold (Without Insurance)

  1. The price varies a lot by area and hospital, but research into healthcare cost databases shows that the average daily cost of psychiatric hospitalization in the U.S. is between $800 and $1,500.
  2. According to the Fischer Institute, the price of a 5150 hold may be much greater if there is no insurance. The average cost was about $2,264 in 2017. This price, though, can vary greatly.

Hidden Costs

While insurance may cover most direct costs, hidden costs can be associated with a 5150 hold. These might include lost wages from missed work, travel costs for family members, or potential long-term therapy or medication costs following the hold.

How to Find Financial Assistance

Dealing with a sudden illness or a 5150 in the family can be overwhelming, not only emotionally but also financially.

Here are some steps to help you find financial assistance:

  1. Understand Your Insurance Coverage: Review your health insurance policy thoroughly to understand what is covered and what isn’t. This will give you an idea of out-of-pocket costs you might need to cover.
  2. Reach Out to Government Programs: Depending on your income and situation, you may qualify for government assistance programs like Medicaid or Medicare.
  3. Check Hospital Financial Aid Policies: Many hospitals offer financial aid programs, sometimes called “charity care.” Reach out to the hospital’s billing department for information.
  4. Explore Nonprofit Organizations: Certain nonprofit organizations provide financial assistance to people with specific illnesses. Conduct a thorough search based on your particular needs.
  5. Consider Fundraising: Websites like GoFundMe allow you to raise money for medical expenses. Be sure to share your fundraiser widely within your network.
  6. Consult a Financial Advisor: A professional can help you navigate your options, including potential tax benefits related to medical expenses.

List of Financial Help Resources

  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): Provides information on financial assistance programs, sometimes called “charity care,” which offer free or discounted health services to those who require help paying their medical bills. Learn More
  2. – Financial Help for Medical Bills: This resource provides information on government programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program that can assist with medical debt. Learn More
  3. GoodRx – How to Find and Use Financial Assistance Programs: The site details organizations that help pay for medical bills, especially for underinsured people with chronic or life-altering diseases. Learn More
  4. – Help With Medical Bills: Offers information about government programs that can help pay for medical care, depending on your income, age, employment status, and qualifying conditions. Learn More
  5. GoFundMe – 6 Ways You Can Find Help With Medical Bills: Provides tips on managing medical bills, including resources and strategies for negotiation. Learn More
  6. Kaiser Permanente – Medical Financial Assistance Program: This program offers temporary financial support for patients, regardless of whether they have health coverage or are uninsured, who receive healthcare from their providers. Learn More

These resources can provide valuable information and aid for those facing sudden healthcare costs. Always consult a financial advisor or counselor to understand all your options.

Steps to Take to Care for a Family Member Experiencing Mental Crisis

Steps to help a family member experiencing a mental crisis:

  1. Recognize the symptoms: Consider common signs like behavior changes, despair, self-harm, or delusions/hallucinations.
  2. Stay calm and supportive: Let your loved one know they’re not alone and offer help.
  3. Seek professional help: Contact a mental health professional for guidance.
  4. Consider emergency services: Call 911 or go to the emergency room if there’s immediate danger.
  5. Understand a 5150 hold: California allows involuntary psychiatric hospitalization for 72 hours.
  6. Know the financial aspects: Insurance generally covers costs, but uninsured individuals may have out-of-pocket expenses.
  7. Provide ongoing support: Encourage therapy, medication management, and healthy habits.

5150 Hold California for Minors

California’s 5150 hold can apply to minors if they pose a threat due to a mental health disorder.

  • Requirements: Minors must be a danger to themselves or gravely disabled to be placed on a 5150 hold.
  • Initiating the Hold: Only authorized professionals can create the hold for minors.
  • Duration: The hold lasts up to 72 hours, during which a psychiatrist evaluates the minor.
  • Parental Involvement: Parents should be notified and involved in the treatment process.
  • After the Hold: Further treatment options include outpatient care or a longer involuntary hold at the psychiatric facility if needed.
  • Payment: Insurance usually covers the costs, but uninsured minors may have state/county coverage or out-of-pocket expenses.

Is a 5150 confidential?

Yes, a 5150 hold is confidential and protected by patient privacy laws. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Medical Records: Medical records, including any history of 5150 holds, are protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They can only be accessed by authorized individuals.
  2. Legal Proceedings: In some legal proceedings, a court order may allow access to these records. However, this is not common and requires specific circumstances.
  3. Healthcare Providers: Only providers involved in the individual’s care can access this information to provide appropriate treatment.

Here are some resources that can provide more information:

  1. Disability Rights California: Offers detailed information about the confidentiality of mental health records in California. Website
  2. Simmrin Law Group: Provides an overview of 5150 holds and privacy in California. Website
  3. California Legislative Information: Contains the legal text of Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. Website
  4. Orange County Health Information: This guides navigating the involuntary (5150) hold process. Website
  5. Santa Clara County Government: Provides information on the legal aspects of 5150 holds. Website

What Happens After a 5150 Hold Ends?

  • Release: If the person is no longer a danger to themselves or others, they can be let go after 72 hours.
  • Voluntary Treatment: They may stay in the hospital voluntarily,, for more intensive treatment is recommended.
  • Extended Hold: If they’re still considered a risk, they can be extended for further evaluation and treatment under a 5250 hold, which lasts up to 14 days.
  • Outpatient Treatment: They might be referred to therapy, group counseling, or medication management as outpatient services.
  • Court-Ordered Treatment: In some cases, the court may order involuntary outpatient treatment if they determine they cannot care for themselves or refuse treatment but need psychiatric care.

In addition to 5150 holds, other mental health-related prohibitions in California can impact an individual’s rights and freedoms, particularly regarding firearm ownership. These include:

  1. 5250 Hold: This is a 14-day involuntary hold that follows a 5150 hold if the person is still considered a danger to themselves or others. It also results in a five-year firearm prohibition.
  2. Conservatorship: If a person is deemed gravely disabled, a court may appoint a conservator to make decisions, including mental health treatment. This also results in firearm prohibition.
  3. Mental Health Court Order: If a court orders a person into outpatient or inpatient mental health treatment, they may be prohibited from owning firearms.

What is law AB 1194?

  • Mandatory Counsel: AB 1194 requires the appointment of counsel in critical conservatorship proceedings.
  • Abuse Penalties: Civil penalties are imposed on non-professional fiduciaries who abuse conservatees, up to $1,000 per act of abuse.
  • Preference for Conservatee’s Choice: Considerable weight is given to the importance of a conservatee or person alleged to lack the legal capacity for a preferred attorney or court-appointed counsel.
  • Training and Oversight: The law mandates training in financial abuse prevention and oversight of conservators.

Who Pays For A 5150 Hold In California Conclusion

In conclusion, the cost of a 5150 hold in California is generally covered by insurance, including private providers and Medicaid.

However, for those without insurance, out-of-pocket expenses can be significant. While direct costs are usually covered, hidden costs such as lost wages, travel, and potential follow-up treatment can add to the financial burden.

The fear of these costs can deter individuals from seeking help, highlighting the need for increased awareness and resources to ensure everyone has access to mental health care, regardless of their financial situation.

For further reading, check out resources about 5150 holds, the impact of a 5150, 5150 costs, visiting, public records, 5150 rules, after-release, get out of a hold, background check, self-commitment, who pays, minors, and 5150 codes.

Remember, if you need to reach a lawyer or expert for urgent questions, Just Answer’s $5 trial is a reasonable option. Our team has bought and reviewed Just Answer, and we believe this service could be helpful when navigating the complexities of the healthcare industry.

Our team welcomes your involvement in our discussions on 51/50s. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about 5150 records or if there’s a mental health software product you’d like Online Mental Health Reviews to investigate next.

If You Are In Crisis

In Case of an Urgent Situation If you’re currently facing a critical situation, relying on online therapy may not be the most immediate solution. In such circumstances where there’s immediate danger, please dial 911 without delay. This includes any scenarios where there’s potential harm to yourself or others.

If you’re battling suicidal thoughts, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is reachable at 988 and offers around-the-clock assistance. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also provides a free and confidential helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

This service operates daily, offering guidance and helping individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues find the appropriate treatment and understand it better.

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