The cost of physical therapy can seriously challenge that of traditional health care. Today, patients – just like yourself – are faced with skyrocketing deductibles and costly doctors visits. There’s no way out of it. Health care is expensive.
The good news? Physical therapy costs less. A lot less.
Physical therapy is one of the most cost-effective treatments available to patients. Plus, it can help you return to your health baseline more quickly AND provides long-lasting positive results.
The Costs of Prescribed Health Interventions
In order to truly appreciate the value of physical therapy and how it can save you money, it is first important to consider the average costs of the most prescribed medical interventions as recommended by medical doctors.
The following outlines common interventions and their associated costs:
- Diagnostic CAT Scan – $1,895 – $2,110
- Diagnostic MRI – $1,774 – $2,775
- Diagnostic Bone/Joint X-Ray – $280 – $422
- Anti-inflammatory Injection into Lower Back – $1,615 – $2,613
- Arthroscopy of Knee to Remove Meniscus – $11,083 – $14,311
- Osteoarthritis NOS-L/Leg OTC – $30,956 – $38,672 (with a hospital stay of 3-4 days)
- Opioid Treatment – Varies from $5,980 – $14,112 a year
The Cost of Physical Therapy
As you can see medical interventions have the potential to be very costly. Physical therapy – on the other hand – is significantly cheaper.
In most instances, you will pay between $50 – $350 for one session of physical therapy, if you are not insured.
The national average ranks in at about $150 per session for the uninsured.
Naturally, the price that you pay per session will depend on the physical therapy that you require, the length of each session, and how many times you need to visit the therapist.
If you have insurance, you may not have to pay anything at all.
For insurances that require a copay, physical therapy sessions typically average from $10 to $50 per session.
For example, Medicare will completely cover the costs of physical therapy as long as it is considered to be “medically necessary”. Another insurance company may require a $20 copay that allows up to 36 sessions each year.
In addition to the standard costs associated with physical therapy, many practices offer a payment plan that will allow you to make small, affordable payments towards your care.
Because you won’t need scans, imaging, and medications, Physical Therapy is the most affordable and productive option.
Cutting Healthcare Costs by Up To 50%
If you experience a complication – such as pain and/or inflammation – it is quite likely that you will initiate your treatment by starting with your primary care provider…
In turn, this medical professional may refer you to a specialist…
Then, that specialist will likely prescribe physical therapy…
All in all, you may need to pay several copays or – if not insured – quite a bit of out-of-pocket expenses for each of these visits.
By simply cutting out the “middle men” (so to speak), and going directly to a physical therapist for assistance, you can – potentially – cut your healthcare costs by up to 50%.
We call that ‘Physical Therapy First‘, and it’s been recently allowed in many states by most insurance companies.
Consult with a physical therapist within 14 days of the onset of your pain. Not only will you cut out the costs associated with a doctors appointment, you can also reduce the costs of expensive imaging, and are 35% less likely to be prescribed a dangerous opioid for your pain.
Think about it. If physical therapy wasn’t an effective option, insurance companies wouldn’t be willing to cover the expense of this type of treatment.
That – in itself – is an important factor to consider when it relates to your comfort and long-term health.
What is Physical Therapy – Exactly?
Physical therapy is a specialty in the healthcare field. It specializes in evaluating, assessing, and providing treatment to those that have a limitation in their functional-based mobility.
The individuals that provide this service are licensed, have obtained a master’s and/or a clinical doctorate degree from an educational facility that is accredited, and have passed a comprehensive licensing examination. They have the skill set, the knowledge, and the general level of expertise to help patients regain and reach optimal functional mobility and be as independent as possible, for as long as possible.
Treatment is personal and customized based on your individual needs. In this way, Physical therapy is very effective and important in recovery.
Do I Have to Have a Referral for Physical Therapy?
The short answer is not always.
In previous years, individuals that had a desire to meet with a physical therapist had to get a referral from their doctor.
Now, the new Direct Access Law went into effect in many states – including the State of Colorado. In January of 2015, all of the 50 states, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia allows patients to obtain certain levels of treatment by physical therapists without a referral.
In some states, though, restrictions are in place.
Based on information derived from the organization known as the “American Physical Therapy Association”, the following states offer Direct Access to physical therapists, without restrictions:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Evaluation and Assessment
If you live in one of the above-mentioned states, physical therapy should always be a first step to take in order to seek relief from pain and mobility impairments. At your first visit, you will undergo an evaluation and an assessment. This is done so that information may be derived about your unique situation and health so that a customized treatment plan may be created. The physical therapist will engage in one or more of the following activities:
- They will test your general degree of strength.
- They will determine what your unique range of motion is.
- They will test your flexibility levels.
- Your balance will be evaluated.
- The mobility within your joints will be assessed.
- Your basic neurological functioning will be thoroughly evaluated.
- You will be asked about the pain that you experience and the overall severity of that pain.
- Your cardiac-based functioning may be assessed.
- Many will evaluate pulmonary functioning.
- Your overall functional-based mobility will be evaluated.
Your Physical Therapy Sessions
Physical therapists have a large variety of treatment techniques that they utilize in order to reduce pain, improve a person’s range of motion, build strength, and optimize mobility.
These professionals may use ice, heat, electrical stimulation, massage therapy, and/or ultrasound technology during your sessions. Many may use a combination of all.
Additionally, your PT will walk you through various types of highly therapeutic exercises that are designed to alleviate pain and pressure, build up your strength levels, provide a boost to your range of motion, and improve your overall functioning.
You will receive information on your condition and will likely be assigned steps you can take at home to aid in your healing.
Top 10 Reasons Physical Therapy Should be a Priority
Regardless of age, medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries, there are several advantages to making physical therapy a priority in treatment. The following outlines the top 10 benefits of this type of care:
- The exercises and manual therapy provided help to reduce or completely eliminate any pain that is being experienced.
- Physical therapy may help you avoid having to undergo surgery to correct the issue in which you suffer.
- The therapeutic exercises will help to improve your overall mobility.
- If you have suffered from a stroke and have experienced issues with your general functioning and movements, physical therapy can help in your recovery.
- If you have suffered an injury, you will be provided with specific exercises that promote quick healing and full recovery.
- Physical therapy helps to boost your balance and prevent the likelihood of experiencing a fall that could be detrimental to your health and general quality of life.
- If you have diabetes or any type of vascular-based medical condition, you will benefit from the techniques performed by a physical therapist.
- Physical therapists can help in reducing the detrimental effects that occur with the natural aging process.
- If you have a lung disease or suffer from heart disease, physical therapists offer rehabilitation to help in your recovery and to boost your health.
- Physical therapy is the most cost-effective solution for your health.
Back to Motion Physical Therapy in Denver, Colorado
We here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy offer a wide range of services and treatments at a low cost. These are designed to build your strength, improve your mobility, and optimize your health. By electing to utilize our services, you can successfully save thousands upon thousands of healthcare dollars!