How to Find Affordable Physical Therapy

physical therapy, affordable physical therapy near me

Recovering from an injury, debilitating illness, or chronic pain can be a long and difficult path. Physical therapy can be critical for anyone trying to improve the strength of their muscles, and often improves one’s quality of life. As with many longterm medical treatments, physical therapy can get expensive. Even if you have insurance that covers your PT, you’ll likely have a copay to worry about.

If you do not have insurance, then things will be more financially stringent as you will have to cover the entire cost of your appointments. If you are wealthy then this may not be a problem for you. However, most people will find getting affordable physical therapy to be a bit more difficult.

What Physical Therapy Entails

Physical therapy treatments vary from patient to patient. In general, the treatments are based on exercises designed to re-acclimate the patient to normal physical activity. This can be through the use of basic exercises, or through the use of exercise equipment such as treadmills, resistance bands, or balance bars.

There are different types of physical therapy based on the condition of the patient. Understanding your condition will help you understand how much you can expect to pay for physical therapy.

What PT Costs Without Insurance

Estimating the price of physical therapy is nearly impossibly without knowing the treatment plan and the patient’s insurance. For starters, the nature of one’s injury or condition has a major effect on the therapy needed. Some cases are temporary, and the subject needs only a few sessions of physical therapy. Other cases, like those addressing chronic pain, may require ongoing sessions.

Treatment centers have different prices — location, clientele, and specialization influence the charges from clinic to clinic. If you require specialized therapy, insurance may not be willing to cover it. Check if the treatment plan is deemed as a medical necessity. If it isn’t, you’ll have a hard time getting sign-off from an insurance company.

Generally, your first visit to a physical therapist will cost more money than your regular sessions. On your first session, your physical therapist will evaluate your needs and formulate a treatment plan. Your recurring sessions will typically be less expensive.

If you do not have insurance that covers physical therapy, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $150 for a standard visit. Some specialized visits can be as expensive as $350 per session. Do as much research as you can so you know what to expect.

To further break it down, here are the costs you’re likely to pay:

  • Insured: If you’re insured, you’ll pay, on average, 20% of your PT costs. For example, your cut of a $100 fee would be $20.
  • Uninsured: If you’re uninsured, expect to pay $100 to $150 per session. This becomes more expensive if your care plan calls for more frequent trips to the treatment center.

Specialized Physical Therapy Treatments

Some physical therapy treatments go beyond mere exercises and strength training. Check with your insurance to see if these specialities are covered. Some will, some won’t. It depends on your type of coverage.

Treatments such as acupuncture or cryotherapy, for example, are not universally accepted by the medical community. Hydrotherapy is more likely to be covered if a doctor deems it essential. 

If you want to save money on these specialized treatments, your best option is to reach out to treatment centers and ask for any money-saving measures they have. It’s not uncommon for treatment centers to work with patients on cutting costs. Some treatment centers even offer discounts on regular sessions if there is a finite number of them. They do this in the form of bundling the sessions into one overarching cost — this saves money in the long run.

Utilizing Your Insurance Plan

If you have insurance, your insurance provider is the first resource you need to use. Some insurance companies may suggest a specific in-network healthcare facility. Staying with your insurance provider’s network is one of the better options you have, but do not mistake that for being the only option.

If Medicare is your insurance, approximately 80% of your treatment cost is covered. This leaves you with the remaining 20%. For example, if your physical therapy sessions cost $100, you would pay $20.

Thinking Out of the Box

When your doctor prescribes physical therapy, ask about alternative services for physical therapy. Some facilities offer free physical therapy treatment. The trade-off? Trainees to be administering the therapy. These sessions are usually supervised.

Your doctor may also be able to suggest treatment centers that offer sliding-scale payments, meaning that they will only charge you based on what you can afford.

Doing Treatment at Home

Depending on the nature of one’s physical condition and what they are physically capable of doing, it is possible to do physical therapy exercises from home. This could reduce the number of necessary sessions that a patient would need. It needs to be stressed that this should only be done if one’s physical therapist were to agree that the patient is healthy enough to do them at home. This can ultimately save hundreds of dollars if done correctly.

In order to take this route you should ask the physical therapist to demonstrate any and all necessary exercises. You should record the demonstrations if the physical therapist is comfortable with you doing so. You should not do the exercises without an additional person who can assist you unless your physical therapist deems it safe to do so.

PT Apps

If you get the green light from your physical therapist to do at-home therapy there are apps you can download that will make keeping up with your physical therapy easier, in and out of the treatment center. Best of all, these apps will help you make physical therapy more affordable. Here are some great options:

Physera – Physera keeps you connected with highly qualified physical therapy experts remotely. If you are unable to make it to an actual treatment center or do not have insurance that covers physical therapy this option may be effective. The rates for using Physera are lower than in-person visits, with your first assessment session costing $100 and subsequent sessions costing $50.

PT Pal Pro – PT Pal Pro is an app that enables you to keep up with your physical therapy. Think of it as having a digital personal assistant that can remind you of PT appointments, keep track of your treatment plans, and even how you are doing with your physical therapy. It is an indispensable tool that can help you stay on top of your PT and potentially reduce the amount of it you have to do. It is available for free on Apple devices.

PT Timer Stretch and Exercise – This is an app designed specifically to keep track of performance of PT exercises. The patient is able to do their exercises and have a strict record of how long their exercises took, what difficulties they had with them, or any other notable detail. The app relays the notes to the physical therapist tracking the patient’s progress. This saves money by enabling the user to keep up with their physical therapy outside the treatment center.

CoPatient – Sometimes you cannot save money up front. That does not mean that you cannot save money after your appointment. CoPatient looks at your past medical bills to review the accuracy of the billing. If they find any potential savings they will only charge 35% of the savings for their fee.

Doing Your Due Diligence

One of the best ways that you can reduce the amount of money spent on physical therapy is to fully commit to your physical therapy. This may seem obvious, but it is easy to become lax with physical therapy schedules and exercises over time. This is understandable because physical therapy can be strenuous and difficult.

If you stick to your PT schedule, do the exercises required of you, and follow the advice of your physical therapist, your condition will improve so you can complete your physical therapy. The sooner you finish with physical therapy, the sooner you reduce the cost to zero.

You may not be able to nullify further physical therapy due to having a chronic condition, but you can still reduce the number of visits you take by staying on top of your therapy. This may not save you on the rate that you pay for your physical therapy, but it should reduce the frequency at which you pay it.

Don’t Skimp

Saving money is important. Saving your health is more important. Don’t make the mistake of putting your health at risk trying to save yourself money. Talk to your insurance provider, ask questions of your doctors, and speak to treatment centers that provide physical therapy. Chances are good that you can find ways to save a few dollars.

How to Prepare for a Recession

recession and economic uncertainty $100 bill tied in red cord

It was sobering news this summer when Bank of America economists put out projections of a “mild” recession to take place this year. That projection has since been pushed back slightly, but the fact remains that economists believe a recession is very likely in the near future. 

What does that mean to regular people, as opposed to economists? Well, record inflation rates coupled with high personal debt loads and a waffling jobs market has put many people on edge. So far, unemployment has remained low, and job openings have remained high, but some sectors (such as tech) have had increasing layoffs of late. 

Also: the Federal Reserve has aggressively raised interest rates in its last few meetings, and more increases are expected in order to try to put the brakes on continued inflation. Unfortunately, sometimes those moves by the Central Bank can push a teetering economy into a recession zone.

Prepare Now in Case a Recession Happens

When a recession is potentially looming, it is prudent to make sure your finances are fully prepared to deal with any economic conditions that may come along. Here are some steps to take to secure your financial situation, no matter what the economic weather may bring.

1) Save as Much as You Can

The primary concern in a recession is that the economy is contracting: companies hire fewer people, wages stagnate, and the possibility of losing your job can increase. That is why your number-one move right now is to set aside as much money as you can in savings or in an emergency fund. If you can, save at least a few months’ worth of income into your bank account. That way you can keep yourself afloat in the event of a job loss during the recession. 

2) Take Down Risky Investments

Right now is the time to reduce your exposure to risky or speculative investments. There may be a time and place for these investments in certain economic climates, but you want to be as far away from them as you can get when things start to get dicey. This is why it is highly recommended that you consider what you have your money in right now and perhaps cash out those positions that are overly speculative. 

3) Look for a Stable Career or a Side Hustle

If you already work in an industry that is stable, then great; count yourself among the lucky ones. But as the economy destabilizes, jobs that aren’t very secure — hospitality, retail, restaurants, entertainment, manufacturing are among the sectors that feel the punch first — are the first place where contractions take place. 

It’s not always possible to rethink an entire career, but now might be the perfect time to spread yourself a little thin and start your own side hustle. Pursue any small-business idea you have, or create an always-in-need service business, whether housecleaning, babysitting, driving and delivery or security. 

4) Reduce or Eliminate Debt Pre-Recession

It is a major problem to try to deal with debt when a recession hits. We may feel comfortable carrying a certain amount of credit card debt when we are safely employed and the economy is simmering. But debt quickly becomes a noose that tightens around your neck when interest rates are climbing, inflation is driving prices up and your job security wavers.

Now is the time to consider a debt consolidation loan or paying off all your debt in another way. You can always try the “snowball method” of paying the smallest debts first, or the “avalanche method” of paying the highest-interest debts first. But if you already feel squeezed, those methods might not work for you. Look into whether you qualify for a debt consolidation loan, which can usually offer you a lower interest rate than what you are paying now — and you can wipe out your debt in one fell swoop with the loan. 

5) Speak with a Financial Advisor

Sometimes the best thing to do is to speak with an expert. If you have a financial advisor that you trust, then you should consider speaking with that person about your current state of affairs. He or she can provide guidance about which steps are most prudent for you to take at a time like this. 

If you’re struggling with credit card debt, take action now, and speak with an advisor at Brice Capital. Ask if they can help you get rid of your high-interest credit card debt, before we find ourselves in the middle of a recession.

4 Tips for Setting Your Financial Goals

Whether you’re looking to buy a home or get rid of debt, you’ll need to set your financial goals. This allows you to have clear objectives that you are working towards in the short-term and long-term. So here are four tips to help in setting your financial goals.

Clearly define your goals

The first step to setting your financial goals is specifying what you hope to accomplish. These goals must be specific, measurable, and have a set deadline. For example, paying off your student debt of $15,000 by the end of next year is a great financial goal to strive for. Setting vague goals, such as just having more money, will likely not give you an end goal to aim for, which makes it easy to lose sight of what you are working towards.

Make sure your goals are achievable

It is always good to challenge yourself, but setting financial goals that are too extreme means, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure. It is also common for those still starting out on their journey to financial freedom to become overwhelmed by setting too many financial goals at the same time. Therefore, it is advisable to take small but consistent steps towards your goals instead of trying to achieve them all at once. As you start achieving these smaller goals, you can progressively begin taking on more challenging ones.

Figure out your budget

Before rushing into achieving your financial goals, you must first figure out where you stand in terms of expenses and spending habits. This means establishing a budget to track your spending and see where every dollar is going. A budget makes it easy to identify opportunities for saving money and how much you can have left over at the end of each month. From there, you can get an idea of what financial goals are doable and how long it would take to achieve them.

Monitor your progress

Since your goals will often have a set deadline or timeframe, you should constantly be monitoring your progress and adjusting your goals as you go along. When you go through a significant life change of any kind — moving, a new job, starting a family or buying a home — that is a key time to re-evaluate your finances and revise your goals. And of course, there may be some unexpected bumps in the road that can hinder your progress. Those, too, require a new look at your money, how you are spending it and how you are saving it.

Above all, keep one single goal in mind — retiring young? buying land and building your own home? starting your own business — and make sure you spending and saving habits are always pointed in that direction. Long-term planning, more often than not, yields long-term results.

How to determine if you can afford to buy a home

buy a home

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases and most important milestones in most people’s lives. But before rushing into it, you should determine whether you can afford to buy a home.

First, Make Sure You Have a Down Payment to Buy a Home

If you are looking to buy a home, the first step is making sure you have enough money to afford to make a down payment. In general, it is advised to have enough saved up to make a down payment of 20%. This allows you to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which adds to your mortgage payments every month.

Do the Percentages Math on Debt and Mortgage Payments

Another thing to consider when buying a home is how much of your income is being spent on your mortgage and debt. To determine if you can afford a mortgage, you can follow the 28/36 rule. This rule states that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on a mortgage and no more than 36% on your total debt.

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is typically used to determine whether you will be approved for a mortgage or not. You should aim to have a DTI of around 36%, as anything over 43% will likely keep you from being approved. To calculate your DTI, add up all your monthly debt payments and divide that by your gross monthly income. If your DTI is too high, you may want to reduce debt or wait until you start earning more before trying to buy a home.

Make Sure You Will Still Have Some Cash Left Over

The affordability of a home will also depend on how much your savings will be impacted if you choose to purchase it. Make sure that you have some cash left over after paying the down payment in case of the (likely) unexpected expenses that will pop up. Depleting your emergency funds to pay for a home is never a good idea and is a possible indicator that you can’t afford it right now.

The key basis for determining if you can afford a home is your mortgage rate. Your mortgage rate will depend on several factors, such as your credit score, down payment amount, and DTI ratio. Lenders take all these factors into account when determining your mortgage rate. Therefore, if you want to make sure your profile is in good shape to get the lowest possible mortgage rate. This often means paying down as much debt as you can before you try to buy.

Why Financial Literacy is Your Best Building Block to Wealth

Financial Literacy with Funding Hawk debt consolidation loans

“Financial literacy” may sound like some heavy-duty brainiac term — but honestly, all it means is how you make your financial decisions based on what you know about money. The “literacy” part isn’t about reading; it’s about understanding basic concepts that are core to how money works. And understanding how money works is critical in making all kinds of decisions that have both short- and long-term impacts on your financial stability — and your life. 

Why do I need financial literacy?

You want to work on your financial literacy so that you are able to make informed, sound decisions about money in your life. But like many things in life, financial literacy isn’t a one-and-done kind of learning; you will keep working on it your whole life. 

And aside from the obvious benefits of being able to make smart decisions about money – keeping yourself out of too much debt, being able to be financially stable — there are also positive health ramifications. Since money is Americans’ number-one stressor, it’s obvious that if you can master basic money skills that you would also be lowering your stress. 

Financial literacy can help eliminate that stress, by giving you skills and knowledge that make it much more likely you’ll have positive financial outcomes in your life. Financial literacy means you’ll be able to understand both basic financial concepts (related to banking and saving) as well as more complex concepts (like credit and interest) that control your money and money outcomes. If you understand those concepts, you can make financial decisions more quickly, more easily, and with better results.

So what do I need to be literate about? 

As we said above, learning financial literacy unfolds over a lifetime, and there are many concepts involved. But there are five basic categories:

  • Banking: Being fluent in how checking and savings accounts work, a basic understanding of interest, and knowing how to write checks and use debit cards.
  • Budgeting: Managing and reviewing monthly income and expenses, with an eye toward long-term goals. Building a budget framework so you don’t live above your means.
  • Saving: Setting aside a portion of your income for both long-term and short-term goals, building and maintaining an emergency fund, understanding how interest rates affect your savings.
  • Credit & Debt: Understanding how borrowing money works and what it costs, from credit cards to loans, learning about debt to income ratio and credit utilization (which impact credit score), being able to evaluation repayment terms, debt solutions and forbearance.
  • Investing: Understanding different investment vehicles, from savings accounts to stock funds, brokerage accounts, robo-investing and more. Contributing to retirement savings. Understanding tax implications and benefits of different investments.

Becoming financially literate about all of the above doesn’t just happen as you live life. Smart money consumers will actively seek out information, ask questions (of bank employees, financial advisors, friends and family), and not worry about looking uninformed. To avoid learning skills that will ease your progress in life because you don’t want to seek assistance is short-sighted; almost everyone needs help in mastering the above concepts.

What if I can’t “afford” financial literacy?

If you think financial literacy is not for you, because you’re struggling with debt or student loans or making ends meet, you’re wrong. Taking time now to learn these concepts will help accelerate your forward movement toward financial stability. Consider spending some time on personal finance websites geared toward education, such as NerdWallet and PennyHoarder.

But if you are suffering a financial hardship right now, or struggling to meet monthly minimums on escalating credit card debt, what you need now is a clear plan to get out of debt.

What Social Security Changes are Coming in 2022?

What changes are coming to social security in 2022

With the new year approaching rapidly, there are quite a few social security changes coming in 2022. Here are some of the main changes happening next year and how they could affect your benefits moving forwards especially for those planning their retirement.

Social Security Payments Will Increase

First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that Social Security payments will increase by 5.9% in 2022. This increase is aimed at combating inflation by helping people maintain their purchasing power. The 5.9% increase marks the largest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in almost 40 years. Given the current state of the economy, this increase is necessary for seniors to be able to retire more comfortably. This is especially true given that the U.S inflation rate rose to 6.8% in 2021, largely due to the global pandemic.

Full retirement age is increasing to 67

The full retirement age will be increasing to 67 in 2022 for those born in 1960 or later. The option to start taking Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 is still available, however, this will result in reduced monthly payments. For example, those who opt for early retirement at age 62 will receive a 30% reduction from the full retirement age benefit amount. Those who choose to wait until age 70 will receive $4,194 per month in Social Security benefits in 2022.

Maximum Social Security Tax Limit Will Increase

In 2022, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will increase from $ 142,800 to $147,000. Most workers pay 6.2% of their earnings into the Social Security system each year until they exceed the maximum taxable amount. Those with an income above $147,000 will not have Social Security tax deducted from their salaries and will notice increased paychecks.

The amount of your Social Security benefits will be taxed according to your income level. If your individual income is between $25,000 and $34,000, 50% of your benefits will be taxed. For married couples, this income range becomes $32,000 to $44,000. Naturally, the percentage of Social Security benefits that are taxed will increase as your income increases. Those with higher incomes will have 85% of their Social Security benefits be taxable.

To learn more about your Social Security benefits, you can visit ssa.gov to get an estimate of what to expect in terms of benefits after retirement.

Are Rent-to-own Homes Worth it?

is rent to own worth it?

Rent-to-own homes are becoming increasingly popular among people looking to purchase a home but are suffering from bad credit scores. While rent-to-own contracts can be mutually beneficial to both buyers and sellers, there are several risks associated with them that should be kept in mind. So, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of rent-to-own homes to see if they are worth it.

Rent-to-own allows prospective buyers to lease a property for a certain period of time with either an option or commitment to buying it once the lease ends. Both the buyer and seller agree on a purchase price for which the buyer can purchase the home in the future. The buyer is usually required to pay monthly rent and an extra amount which acts as part of their down payment. Eventually, these extra payments will be credited towards the purchase price at the end of the contract. This extra amount is usually nonrefundable and may be lost if the buyer does not end up purchasing the home.

Rent-to-own homes tend to be appealing to some buyers that can’t qualify for a traditional home loan due to bad credit. It also makes sense in markets where home prices are increasing, since the purchase price of the home is usually set a few years in advance. Renting the home before purchasing also allows the buyers to test out living in the house.

However, not paying rent on time or deciding not to purchase the house may cause you to lose all of your previous payments. In addition, rent-to-own contracts do not usually follow a standard template, therefore it is highly recommended to have a real estate attorney take a look at it. Rent-to-own contracts can also be very risky for buyers with poor credit and that are looking to purchase a home. Some sellers will intentionally rent out homes to potential buyers who are struggling financially and will likely be unable to pay the required amount. This means that the buyers will lose a large portion of their money and have nothing to show for it once the contract ends.

Overall, Rent-to-own homes could be worth it for those who are unable to get a traditional home loan and are expecting property prices to rise in the upcoming years. However, this route is a risky one for those who find it difficult to stay on top of their finances.