Unraveling the Costs of a 5150 Hold: A Comprehensive Breakdown

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on June 30, 2023
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When it comes to serious mental illness or health mental health issues, a 5150 hold can be a lifesaver.

Named after Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, this involuntary psychiatric hold permits qualified officers or clinicians to confine a person suspected of having a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves or others.

Our Online Mental Health Reviews team comprises professionals with extensive experience in the mental health field, including clinicians and therapists. We’re no strangers to 5150s, and the costs of a 5150 hold, financially and emotionally.

So how much does a 5150 cost? Let’s dive in.

What Is 5150 Involuntary Hold?

The Direct Costs

Hospital Fees

The largest portion of the 5150 costs typically goes to hospital fees. This includes bed costs, nursing care, meals, and necessary medical procedures.

The price varies greatly depending on the region and the hospital, but according to research into healthcare cost databases, the average daily cost of psychiatric hospitalization in the U.S. ranges from $800 to $1,500 per day.

  • Schizophrenia treatment, $8,509 for 11.1 days and $5,707 for 7.4 days, respectively
  • Bipolar disorder treatment, $7,593 for 9.4 days and $4,356 for 5.5 days
  • Depression treatment, $6,990 for 8.4 days and $3,616 for 4.4 days
  • Drug use disorder treatment, $4,591 for 5.2 days and $3,422 for 3.7 days
  • Alcohol use disorder treatment is $5,908 for 6.2 days and $4,147 for 3.8 days.

Mental Health Evaluations

The next significant expense is mental health evaluations, which psychiatrists or psychologists can conduct. These professionals evaluate the individual’s mental state and determine the need for ongoing treatment. Depending on the professional’s fees and the number of evaluations needed, this can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 per evaluation.


If medication is prescribed during the 5150 hold, this will also add to the cost. The price varies depending on the specific drug and dosage but can range from $30 to $200 monthly.

In some cases, legal fees might also apply. If the individual or their family decides to challenge the 5150 hold in court, they will likely need to hire a lawyer. The cost of legal representation can vary widely but could easily add thousands of dollars to the overall cost.

Indirect Costs and Challenges

While these are the most direct costs associated with a 5150 hold, some indirect costs and challenges may influence the overall 5150 consequences and price tag.

  • Loss of income is a significant factor to consider. If the individual is employed, they may lose wages during their hospital stay.
  • Additionally, there could be costs related to aftercare, such as ongoing therapy or outpatient treatment programs, which can also be substantial.

Moreover, navigating the mental health system can be daunting, and finding the right resources and care can take time and energy. The emotional toll on the life of the individual and their loved ones is another ‘cost’ that’s hard to quantify but very real.

Regional Differences

  • It’s important to note that the cost of a 5150 can vary greatly depending on the region.
  • States have different fee scales, and the cost of living in a particular area can significantly affect hospital and professional fees.
  • For example, a 5150 hold in a large city like Los Angeles or New York would likely be more expensive than in a rural area.

5150 Costs With Insurance Versus No Insurance

Navigating the costs associated with a 5150 hold can be confusing, especially when considering insurance coverage. Here’s a brief overview of what you might expect:

Cost With Insurance

  1. Coverage Depends on Your Plan: The extent of coverage for a 5150 hold varies greatly depending on your insurance plan. Some plans may cover most of the cost, while others may only cover a portion. Reviewing your plan details or contacting your insurance provider for specifics is essential. Source
  2. Possible Out-of-Pocket Costs: Even with insurance, you may still be responsible for out-of-pocket costs such as copays, deductibles, and any charges exceeding your coverage limit. Source

Cost Without Insurance

  1. Higher Costs: Without insurance, the cost of a 5150 hold can be significantly higher. In 2017, the average price was approximately $2,264. However, this cost can vary widely. Source
  2. Potential for Financial Assistance: The county or state may cover the cost if the individual cannot pay for their treatment. Source
  3. High Cost of Self-Pay: Hospitals generally charge uninsured people much more than those with insurance. One report found that five days in psychiatric care led to a $21,000 hospital bill. Source

It’s important to remember that these are general estimates, and actual costs can vary depending on location, specific services used, and hospital policies.

Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization Recap

According to TexasLawHelp, involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, aka a 5150 hold, is when someone is involuntarily admitted to assess and treat their mental health condition.

– Law enforcement or medical personnel usually initiate to ensure safety.

– The cost of a 72-hour hold without insurance varies by state and facility but ranges from $2000-$4000.

– During a 5150 hold, the individual is evaluated by a mental health professional and may receive medication or other treatments.

The 72-Hour Hold: What It Is and What It Entails

  • The 72-hour hold, also called a 5150, is an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization for individuals at risk to themselves or others.
  • Authorized by section 5150 of California’s Welfare and Institutions Code, it allows temporary detainment for mental health assessment.
  • During this time, medical professionals evaluate the individual’s risk. They can be held for up to 14 days or longer if necessary.

What Happens if I Cannot Afford the Cost of a 72-Hour Hold?

If you cannot afford the cost of a 72-hour hold, several other treatment options are available.

  1. You can apply for financial assistance from your local government or social services agency.
  2. You may be able to negotiate payment plans with the hospital or facility providing the care.
  3. Some hospitals and facilities offer sliding scale fees based on income level.
  4. If you have health insurance, it may cover some or all of the costs associated with a 72-hour hold.
  5. You may also qualify for Medicaid coverage, which could help cover some of the costs associated with a 72-hour hold.

Can I Negotiate the Cost of a 72-Hour Hold without Insurance?

The cost of a 72-hour hold without insurance varies by location and facility type.

– Generally, it ranges from $2000 to $4000.

– Negotiating the cost is possible in some cases.

– Providing proof of financial hardship may lower the price.

– Discounts or payment plans might be available for those unable to pay upfront.

Please note that negotiating the cost can be an option.

What Are My Payment Options for a 72-Hour Hold without Insurance?

Several payment options are available for a 72-hour hold without insurance. These include:

  1. Public Programs: Some public programs may cover involuntary commitments and other mental health services, depending on the state.
  2. Private Insurance: If you have private insurance, it may cover some or all of the costs associated with a 72-hour hold.
  3. Charity Programs: Many organizations offer charity programs to help cover the cost of mental health services for those without insurance or limited financial resources.
  4. Crowd Funding: Crowdfunding can be one way to tell your story and get the support you need from strangers online. Surprisingly effective.
  5. Out-of-Pocket Payments: If none of the above options are available, you may need to pay for a 72-hour hold without insurance. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, the average cost without insurance is “community-based hospitals charged on average between $8,393 and $21,793 for inpatient psychiatric care“.

Researching your options and understanding what each option covers before deciding to pay for a 72-hour hold without any insurance company is important.

Can I Refuse Treatment During a 72-Hour Hold?

When a person is placed in psychiatric care on a 72-hour hold, also known as a 5150, they may be subject to involuntary hospitalization and treatment.

  • While patients cannot avoid the hospitalization part, they can refuse any medical treatment during this time.
  • The patient can refuse medication or other treatments while on hold and request an attorney if they feel their rights are violated.
  • Patients should be informed of their rights and allowed to make decisions about their medical care.

Patients must understand that refusing treatment now may result in an extension of the 72-hour hold or even involuntary commitment to further treatment.

How Much Does A 5150 Cost Conclusion

In a nutshell, the cost of a 5150 hold can range significantly depending on various factors, including hospital fees, professional fees, medication costs, potential legal fees, and regional differences in mental health facilities.

Our best guess is the 5150 cost is $2,000 with insurance and $4,000 without insurance.

It’s a complex issue with many variables, but understanding these costs can help individuals and their families make informed decisions about mental health care. Remember, while the costs can be high, getting the right help at the right time is priceless.

We’d love to hear from you! Please comment below if you have any questions about the costs associated with a 5150 hold. Alternatively, if you have any recommendations for a mental health service, app, or course that you think our Online Mental Health Reviews team should explore next, we encourage you to share your suggestions in the comments section.

If You Are In Crisis

Getting immediate help is crucial, and not delaying an online therapy session if you ever find yourself in a mental health crisis. If you or someone else is at risk of harm, dial 911 without hesitation. This includes instances where there are plans to harm oneself or others. If suicidal thoughts are prevalent, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available at any hour by dialing 988.

Alternatively, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a National Helpline for mental health or substance abuse issues. You can reach them at 800-662-HELP (4357). This service is accessible daily, providing confidential assistance for individuals seeking treatment and information about mental health or substance abuse disorders.

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