The Cost of a 72-Hour Hold with Insurance: An In-Depth Analysis

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 6, 2023
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In mental health care, a 72-hour hold, an involuntary commitment, or emergency hospitalization is a crucial intervention to protect individuals in crisis.

This measure allows medical professionals to evaluate and treat individuals whose inpatient commitment poses a danger to themselves or others due to severe mental health conditions.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team comprises experienced professionals with extensive knowledge about mental health services and inpatient treatment, including the costs associated with various treatments. Our team conducts thorough research to provide transparent and reliable information on topics like the cost of a 72-hour hold with insurance.

But how much does such a critical service cost, especially when insurance comes into play?

Please note there are many different situations, such as severity, state laws, and even specific facility guidelines. So it’s impossible to get a precise answer for every person. But we can get close, so let’s see those answers.

Understanding the 72-Hour Hold

A 72-hour hold initiates with a professional’s decision, often a psychiatrist or a mental health officer, based on an individual’s mental state and potential risk. Patients receive a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, necessary treatment, and stabilization within a safe environment during this period.

Please note this video includes longer inpatient stays beyond 72 hours, but much of the info still applies to 5150 holds.

Inpatient Psychiatric Care: Top Diagnoses, Cost, Long Wait Times

The Average Cost of Insurance

While providing a definitive figure is challenging due to numerous variables, we can glean information from several sources to estimate the average cost.

  1. The Agency for Healthcare Research reports that the average cost of an emergency visit in 2017 was $520 per visit. However, it’s essential to note that these costs can fluctuate based on location, type of treatment facility used, and the patient’s specific needs.
  2. A 72-hour hold without insurance can be expensive in the United States. According to Fischer Institute, the average cost in 2017 was $2,264. However, this cost can vary greatly depending on the location and institution.
  3. The American Journal of Psychiatry found in 2016 a stay in a U.S. hospital for a primary mental condition or a substance use disorder cost $7,100 over 6.4 days.

Fortunately, the out-of-pocket costs for a 72-hour hold with insurance usually are entirely covered by insurance or have a maximum of $3,000 expenses. Despite the same service, the costs of a hold without insurance can be greater due to hospitals overcharging accounts without insurance.

Factors Influencing the Cost

Several elements can affect the cost of a 72-hour hold, including:

  • Type of Mental Health Condition: More complex conditions like schizophrenia could incur higher costs than depression.
  • Medication: The need for medication during the hold, particularly if specialized or multiple medications are required, can increase the cost.
  • Location and Facility Type: Costs vary widely depending on whether the hold occurs in a public, private, or specialized psychiatric facility.
  • Insurance: Private pay, private insurance, and Medical/Medicaid offer different pricing structures.

Understanding Involuntary Commitment (302)

Understanding involuntary commitment, commonly called a “302” in certain regions, is crucial when navigating mental health care. A 302 commitment is an involuntary psychiatric placement at an inpatient unit psychiatric hospital, usually initiated when a person is deemed a danger to themselves or others due to mental health issues1.

The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Petition for Evaluation: People, including police and doctors, can request an involuntary psychiatric evaluation.
  2. Evaluation by a Mental Health Professional: The individual is assessed by a professional who determines if hospitalization is necessary.
  3. Emergency Evaluation (302): If the professional deems it necessary, a 302 commitment is issued and the individual is admitted to a psychiatric unit.

However, the cost, duration, and specific procedures can vary depending on local laws and the individual’s condition.

It’s important to note that a 302 commitment is typically an emergency measure used when immediate intervention is necessary to protect the individual or others. It’s a critical part of the mental health system but also a complex process that requires careful consideration and oversight.

Agile Health Insurance Comparison Tool and Short-Term Insurance

Agile Health Insurance ( is a well-known platform in the healthcare business. It has a unique tool that lets users compare medical and Obamacare plans all in one place.

  1. Users don’t have to go to each site separately anymore because of this unique feature. This saves health insurance seekers a lot of time.
  2. Agile Health Insurance makes choosing the best health insurance plan easier by putting all the important information in an easy-to-find place.

Short Term Insurance As Last Resort If Lose Coverage Due to 72-Hour Holds

Agile Health Insurance is also good for short-term insurance.

  • This kind of insurance is especially helpful if you or someone in your family loses their insurance because of a suitable life event, like a mental health incident or a 72-hour hold.
  • Short-term insurance, which you can get outside of November’s open enrollment time if you have a life event that qualifies, can help you pay for unexpected costs.
  • Even though short-term insurance may not cover as much as private insurance, it is up to 20% cheaper than Obamacare, which makes it a good option for many.

We liked how the agile health insurance comparison tool helped us better understand our needs and find our best health insurance plan. The tool was easy to use, and it was easy to compare different plans. This made the process less scary and more efficient.

Thanks to its unique features and benefits, Agile Health Insurance is a helpful tool for people trying to figure out the complicated world of health insurance.

Differences Between the Emergency Commitment Process and Judicial Commitment Process

The emergency and judicial commitment processes are two distinct procedures to address severe mental health crises. Both serve the same purpose – ensuring the safety of individuals and others when serious mental illness first becomes a significant concern – but they differ in terms of initiation, duration, and legal oversight.

Emergency Commitment Process

Emergency commitment, often called a “302” or “72-hour hold,” is typically initiated by a mental health professional when an individual poses an immediate danger of bodily harm to themselves or others due to a mental health crisis. This process allows immediate, short-term involuntary hospitalization for assessment and stabilization, usually up to 72 hours.

Judicial Commitment Process

On the other hand, the judicial commitment process involves legal proceedings and is typically used for more extended periods of involuntary treatment. It begins with a petition to be involuntarily committed to the court, often filed by a family member or mental health professional, followed by a hearing where evidence is presented.

Suppose the judge finds that the individual meets the criteria for commitment (danger to self or others or inability to care for oneself). In that case, they may order longer-term inpatient treatment, known as a “304b” commitment.

For more detailed information, you can refer to these resources:

Remember, both procedures aim to ensure the safety and well-being of the individual during times of crisis while also respecting their rights and dignity.

Duration of Involuntary Admission to a Hospital

Involuntary admission to a hospital, often for mental health reasons, is typically governed by specific laws and can vary in length depending on the jurisdiction and individual circumstances.

  1. Initial Evaluation: An involuntary psychiatric commitment usually starts with an initial evaluation period, generally up to 72 hours. During this time, mental health professionals assess whether the individual poses a risk to themselves or others.
  2. Short-term Commitment: If the individual is deemed a risk, they may be involuntarily admitted for a short-term period. This typically lasts around five days but can extend based on the individual’s condition and local laws.
  3. Long-term Commitment: In certain cases, long-term involuntary commitment laws allow facilities to keep patients for an extended period without their consent. The length of this period can vary significantly, as well as costs.

These durations are not fixed and can change based on the patient’s condition, the judgment of healthcare professionals, and legal regulations.

Issues of Concern in Involuntary Commitments

Involuntary commitments, or court-ordered treatments, are legal procedures used when individuals pose a danger to themselves or others due to a mental disorder or illness. However, they raise several issues of concern:

  1. Ethical Dilemmas: Involuntary commitments often raise ethical questions about individual rights, autonomy, and the balance between ensuring public safety and respecting personal freedom (source).
  2. Psychological Impact: The commitment process can have psychological and emotional consequences, potentially causing trauma for the individual involved (source).

These complex issues require careful consideration and attention to balance protecting individual rights and public safety. These procedures must be continually reviewed and refined in light of these concerns.

The Court’s Role: Deciding on the Need for Treatment

The court plays a significant role in deciding on the need for medical or mental health treatment, particularly in cases where the individual is unable or unwilling to make decisions regarding their care.

  1. Involuntary Commitment: Courts can mandate treatment through involuntary commitment if an individual poses a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness. This process involves a hearing where evidence of the person’s condition and potential risk is presented (source).
  2. Drug and Mental Health Courts: Specialized courts like drug and mental health courts are designed to divert non-violent offenders with substance use or mental health problems into supervised programs with treatment plans rather than incarceration (source, source).

However, it’s important to note that the court’s role is not to replace medical professionals but to ensure individuals’ legal and ethical rights are upheld in decision-making. The primary objective is always the welfare of the individual involved.

What Happens if the Court Finds “Probable Cause”?

“Probable cause” is a legal concept often used in criminal law. It refers to the standard by which police authorities have reason to obtain a warrant for arresting a suspected criminal or the seizure of property relating to a crime.

If the court finds “probable cause,” it signifies a reasonable basis to believe a crime may have been committed and the suspect was involved. Here’s what typically happens next:

  1. Arrest or Search: If probable cause is established, it can lead to the issue of an arrest warrant or a search warrant, allowing law enforcement to apprehend the individual or search their property (source).
  2. Probable Cause Hearing: This is a proceeding to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to charge the person in court. The case proceeds to trial if probable cause is found (source).
  3. Trial: At the trial, the prosecution must present enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
  4. Rights of the Accused: Throughout this process, the accused has rights that the court must respect, including the right to a defense attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to a fair and speedy trial.

How Much Does a 72-Hour Hold Cost With Insurance Conclusion

Understanding the cost of a 72-hour hold is crucial in navigating mental health care options. As you explore these resources and options, remember that while cost is an important consideration, the primary goal is to ensure safety and appropriate care during times of crisis.

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 hopes this information was helpful. If you have any questions about the challenging of a 72 hour hold, 72 hour hold laws, involuntary commitment, visiting privileges, cost of a 72-hour hold with insurance, or without insurance, or who pays for a 72-hour, feel free to leave a comment below.

We’d also love your suggestions on what mental health software product Online Mental Health Reviews should evaluate next. Your input is highly appreciated!

If You Are In Crisis

Your safety and well-being are the top priority. If you’re in an emergency or a crisis, it’s crucial to seek immediate help:

  1. 911: If you’re in immediate danger or plan to harm yourself or others, don’t hesitate to call 911 immediately.
  2. 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This resource provides immediate support to individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7.
  3. SAMHSA National Helpline (800-662-HELP): The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free, confidential helpline for those dealing with mental health or substance abuse disorders. You can reach them at 800-662-HELP (4357) anytime, any day of the year, to get information about treatment options and resources.

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