No Insurance for Physical Therapy – How to Get Affordable Treatment

Physical therapy has benefits that go well beyond aches and sprains. Treatment can help patients live healthier lives when they have greater access to a physical therapist. Maybe it’s simply the warm touch of a kind person, but physical therapy does help people feel better, even if it doesn’t always cure the treated condition. A recent study shows that insurance companies who allow patients to see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral have fewer illnesses and end up costing insurers less money in the long run. Some call this direct access physical therapy. Not only does it save insurance company’s money, it saves uninsured individuals the cost of an initial doctor’s visit.

Direct Access Care

With direct access, patients no longer need to see the primary care physician for a referral before seeking the help of a physical therapist. This helps in many ways. First, patients are quicker to schedule appointments when they are in pain, treatment muscular conditions more quickly before they turn into major problems. However, direct access care is not available everywhere. In many states, the law requires that a physician, nurse practitioner or dentist prescribe any physical therapy treatment regiments. Given that physical therapy can do much good and little harm, many states are changing those regulations, with certain limitations.

For instance, some laws require a therapist to be licensed for at least three years before a patient can come for treatment without a doctor’s order. Others require a doctor’s visit if the patient seeks physical therapy for an extended time or for a specified number of visits. Once that threshold is reached, the patient cannot gain further direct access care without visiting a doctor first.

How to Save on Physical Therapy Treatment

Although a physical therapist salary is high, and therefore the cost of treatment can be high for the average person, there are ways to get physical therapy treatment at a reduced cost. To understand why you can get cheaper services, it’s important to understand how health insurance works.

Physical therapy bills are high, around $150 for an initial visit and evaluation. Subsequent visits run around $75 depending on the specific treatment and your condition. However, the insurance company doesn’t pay anywhere near that. They have an agreement with just about every physical therapy office to pay a reduced rate. Therapists accept the lower rate because it guarantees a swift payment from the insurance company, instead of chasing patients for the bill. You can get the benefit of a lower rate in exchange for guaranteed payment by paying cash at the time of your visit. While not all therapy offices work this way, the health insurance crisis has spurred huge growth in cash-paid office visits.

You won’t know if your physical therapist gives discounts in exchange for cash unless you ask. Some offices will mention the option to you when you book your first appointment and tell them you have no health insurance. If you have a pending appointment, call now to find out if you can pay cash to save money. You’ll be able to afford the care you need and live a healthier life in the long run. provides information about physical therapy and therapy careers for students seeking the best schools for their individual career paths. Visit the site for more information on physical therapy and other therapy careers.

August 2011 Monthly Review

Hey there.  Thanks for coming by.  This is the time of the month when I review my financial and health progress and share with  you all. To check out my yearly goals, see the tab at the top of the page.  Thanks!

Last month, I finally realized that I needed to add credit cards back into the review.  After the review, I paid it off.

Credit Card

Chase British Air Card $0 – I was able to pay this one completely off in the first week of august, and while there is a balance on it again, I’ll be able to easily pay it when the bill comes, leaving some left over for my student loan.

Student Loans

I made some progress here for the first time in a year.  The progess could be short lived though, as I may have to save up for my alaska trip with this months extra cash.

Direct Loan $1,657  ($396) – I was able to make a nice sized payment on this loan for this month.  Hopefully, there will be more to go around when I get paid again at the beginning of the month.  I should be able to put another couple hundred on it.

Great Lakes Loan $11,626 ($104)  Just sent my regular minimum payment to this loan. I’m working on this one as well, but it will probably be the last debt I pay off.

Truck Loan

Pretty self explanatory – the loan for my truck.  I got a huge boost on this loan this month from a hail storm we had in the area around mid july.  There was quite a bit of damage (many are getting new roofs) and there was over $6k of damage worth to my car.  When I got the check, the insurance rep said I could get the vehicle fixed or use the money to pay down the loan.  No brainer for me, and I wiped out 33% of the value of the loan.

Ford Credit: $10,359, (5,601): I have just been making minimum payments to this loan, but my truck got killed by a hailstorm in July.  The insurance company cut me a check on the spot, and told me I could get it fixed (and pay my 1,000 deductible) or I could send it to the loan.  Easy chose.

Health Goals

I’ve also decided to track my health goals for the year.  I went to 5-6 days per week, and I really was doing good at the first of the month but once the rodeo started, I totally fell off the wagon (though I do a lot of physical labor at the rodeo, i’m not counting it).

Week of July 31  27: 3 Days
Week of August 7:  4 Days (I’m counting rafting as a workout as well)
Week of August 14:  4 Days ( I had a tough hike that I’m counting as 2, and the Warrior dash this week)
Week of August 21:  4 Days

Goal Visits: 20
Total Visits: 15

Like July, this month was pretty crazy.  I wanted to enter my canning in the county fair, but missed the deadline.  I traveled to West Virginia (for fun), to Colorado to hike the Maroon Bells and for the Warrior Dash, and I’ll be traveling to Colorado again for a friends bbq on the last weekend of the month.  Interspersed in there, was quite a bit of planning for my Alaska trip (finally confirmed), more work for the Financial blogger conference, and lots of work to get my alexa rank for the site under 200k.  While it seems like months like this are usually rough on the financial side, I made tremendous progress this month, while my health goals took a back seat.  For next month, I’d really like to try and do well at both,  but it will be difficult, considering I’ll be traveling 17 days for the month of September.  Probably a personal record, but I’ve never felt the need to keep track of things like that.

How To Give Up Caffeine

Back in 2006/2007, I was quite addicted to caffeine.

3 Cups of Tea

Photo credit: Mat.teo, Flickr

Tough to say, but there’s really no way to sugar coat it.  Thinking about it now, I kind of recoil in horror about the amount of caffeine intake I had.  I would regularly wake up and have a coke for breakfast (horrible, I know), and then it would be a few hour break from caffeine (and all liquids, actually), then I’d get home, relax and make some dinner and then start on my homework/work and have another cup of tea (or 2).  This tea was typically green or black, but on occasion I considered my caffeine intake and switched to white tea (but only if I was planning on going to bed soon).  It wasn’t good, and not only was the consumption outside this world, the rate at which I consumed a cup was astounding.   Either way, it got to a point where even I started to realize my consumption was high, so I decided to make an effort to cut back.  Here are some of the BEST reasons I found to give up caffeine:

  1. Caffeine has a half life of 4.9 hours for healthy adults (women taking oral contraceptives, it’s 5-10 hours, dont ask me why)
  2. Caffeine hogs your liver.  When you drink caffeine, it gets broken down into 3 parts in the liver (Paraxanthine 84%, Theobromine 12% and Theophylline 4%).  When your liver is breaking down these things that you put into your body knowingly, it cant break down toxins that are in your body that you don’t know about.
  3. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage, with women who consume more than 200 mg a day (2 cups drip coffee) doubling their risk.
  4. It will make it harder for you to fall asleep, and you’ll wake easier
  5. We all know about the feeling a few hours later when you crash.  Coffee is a lot like credit cards in this way – you can keep having fun, but eventually you’ll have to pay the piper.
  6. It will dehydrate you.
  7. The acidic nature of caffeine drinks has a negative effect on your body by preventing other nutrients from getting absorbed.
  8. The “Latte Factor” (or soda factor) It doesn’t really matter how much you do or don’t drink of the stuff. It will add up no matter what, and lets face it: Water is free & better for you.

You’re probably addicted to the stuff (Just like I was), depending on the amount of caffeine you drink.  Lets work out how long it could take.   1 shot of espresso from starbucks has 75 mg of caffeine in it.  Given our half-life formula, that 1 espresso shot (or drink) will stay in your body for the next 31.5 HOURS, Give or take a few hours depending on how healthy you are.  At 4pm tomorrow, are you still going to be thinking about that espresso shot you had at 8am today?  I didnt think so either.  It’s probably time to give it up.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, something as simple as getting a waterbottle to fill can help you out.  The soda can/tea cup I used to reach for was replaced by a water bottle, and I didn’t really notice the difference at first, then I started to feel a lot better after a while.   Once you start switching to water during the times that you typically blindly reach for a caffeinated beverage (read: at your desk) you can start doing the difficult part: purposefully avoiding it at restaurants, in bars, etc.   But, please, don’t try both of these at once.

I suggest starting with having your morning coffee ( and if you started out drinking 3+ cut it down to 3, then to 2, then to 1).  While you’re doing this, start replacing the coffee you’re not drinking with 2x the amount of water.  It will fill your stomach up and leave less room for the caffeine.  You’ll also rehydrate yourself in doing so.  Once you get in the habit of doing this, you can move on to the next step!

Good Luck.

Healthy Routines

Im back to health again after long time focusing mostly on finances and the environment.  Like I say everywhere in the blog, these things are quite interconnected, and some of the rules that apply to your finances can apply to your health.

The one I have been thinking about most recently is the automation portion.  Every morning when I get to the office, I park in the farthest parking spot that I can from the door.  Im typically one of the first ones there, so I do have my choice, but choose to park quite far away.  So, I walk a bit further to get into the door, and feel nice and energized when I get there.

However, I dont think you need to do this ALL the time.  One example for me is target: I swear, whenever I go in there it rains or snows, without fail.  That, coupled with the big-box store mentality of parking close to the entrance, I typically try to find a parking spot as close as I can to the front door.  To me, this isnt a big deal at all.  I go to target about once every week and a half or two weeks, so not taking the extra steps is not that big of a deal.  However, I go to work EVERYDAY.  Taking those steps everyday will create a solid routine for the future, and will also add up over time.

Just like with saving money, in health, Every little bit counts.

This solution also works well with messages you need to take around the office.  You could use the phone, but you’ll probably feel better if you walk up a few steps to talk to whomever you need to talk to.  I’ve never worn a pedometer or tried to count steps, but if you’re interested, you can get them for cheap or probably get a free one.

Another healthy routine to get into is eating breakfast.  I know you heard it from your mom everyday, but it’s the truth.  I usually dont have mine at home, but I eat it while at work.  I just keep a box of blueberry flavored granola in my desk and have a cup when I get to work every morning.  Couple this with a bottle or 2 of water, and I’m set for the day.  (I’m not all that dependent on caffinene, and with the granola, I dont really need to be.  Its very energy dense, and keeps me going through lunch.)

The Five Eco Principles – Healthy Environment

While in Chicago in April, I had a chance to visit the museum of science & industry.  The experience was great, and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed the museum.  We were both intrigued enough to pay the extra ~$25 or so to see the smart house.  We were not disappointed, and left with some good ideas about things to re-use and things to purchase made from re-used items.  Recently, I thought it would be a good idea to share the principles with the readers, and figure out how you can best take advantage of them.  Today is the fifth one, focusing on a Healthy Environment.

Ensuring that you live in a healthy environment is paramount.  You are in your residence a significant portion of time, so if something potentially harmful to you (or your loved ones) has the potential to cause problems at best, and can be lethal at the worst.  There have been some spectacular incidents that can illustrate this problem perfectly, and show you a few:

  1. Asbestos – This used to be used in multiple products in the home (floor tiles, roofing, fire retardant) and elsewhere around the home (brake pads).  Asbestos poses no threat until its been disturbed.  During a home remodel or other disturbing event to the asbestos, the fibers can become airborne and inhaled.  This is obviously not good for you, and can lead to serious lung problems in the future.  Asbestos is no longer common in building materials, and is currently regulated by the EPA.
  2. Lead – This used to be found in gasoline and paint.  Poses huge risks to our children (those six & under), and can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems and possibly death.  This is also something that you dont want floating in the air in the place where you spend most of your time.
  3. DDT – Probably one of the most infamous products ever used in or around the home.  Typically, it was used to kill mosquitos carrying malaria.  This chemical became very popular around the home, and was eventually linked to multiple problems, such as appearing in humans, thinning eggshells of wildland creatures and showing up in the fats of fish.  It was one of the first major environmental campaigns, and was brought on by the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

There are also plenty of modern day examples.  One of the current ones is VOC Paints.  VOC (aka Volatile Organic Compounds) are in some paints, and can seep out after the wall has been painted.  Something else that could pose a problem is your granite countertop.  Some granite countertops house uranium, which is not only radioactive, but can release radon gas, which can cause lung cancer. The amount of uranium that is most likely contained in your countertop is not suspected to be enough to pose a significant risk to your health, but are you willing to find out the hard way if that ends up not being true?

Now, think about how much time that you and your loved ones spend inside your home.  There are a few things to think about when it comes to these type of pollutants.

  1. How worried do I need to be about these products? No one really knows what the long term effects of these chemicals will be.  Do you want to be one of the first to file a lawsuit because you found out?
  2. To what degree do I want to protect myself and my loved ones? – Many of the things that can mitigate potential sickness cost more.  How much more  are you willing to pay?

Want to get more out of the sustainablelife blog?  Here are a few tips.

  1. Subscribe Via RSS – Click on the orange icon under the top posts on the side bar.  Aren’t familiar with RSS? Its like a news service.  Whenever the blog updates, it will take it to your feed reader (I use google reader) and you can view the article there.
  2. Email me at info [at]
  3. Follow me on twitter @sustainlifeblog
  4. Have a Comment Party – I would love to hear your comments on my articles, and the things I talk about.
  5. Email an article to a friend, then ask them to join in the comment party.  The more the merrier

The Five Eco Principles – Smart Design

While in Chicago in April, I had a chance to visit the museum of science & industry.  The experience was great, and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed the museum.  We were both intrigued enough to pay the extra ~$25 or so to see the smart house.  We were not disappointed, and left with some good ideas about things to re-use and things to purchase made from re-used items.  Recently, I thought it would be a good idea to share the principles with the readers, and figure out how you can best take advantage of them.  Today is the first one, focusing on smart design.

Design is important for plenty of reasons.  No one would want to live in an eco-friendly house if it looked like a huge eyesore.  I dont care how much you are interested in saving the earth, you wouldnt want to live in an ugly house.  So, one of the prime things an eco friendly house needs is good (looking) design.  You should not need to sacrifice looks to be eco-friendly, and you wont need to.  Having lots of windows will allow for more heat in the summer, but also keep your place cooler in the winter.  Opening windows will allow for a nice cross breeze that can cool your house down quickly, which can save you more on cooling costs in the summer.  Adding fans is also a good way to keep the temperatures under control.  Force the heat down in the winter and change direction in the summer to move the warm air out.

Alot of the smart design principles are important, but one of the easiest to appease is probably the location of windows.  If you have south facing windows, you can leave the windows open for natural light, cutting down on your electricity.  Not on this, but everyone loves windows (as long as you’re not living in a ‘fishbowl’), and they can be beneficial as they cut down on artifical light, as well as heat your home.  Things like this arent rocket scientists, but the large developers dont give them consideration because they are not the ones paying the electrical bills.

Smart Design is not limited to just the inside of the home.  Where I grew up in the Western United States, water was our primary concern.  When it rained (not often) water can be caught in a rain barrell or encouraged to seep into the ground to water grass or flowers.  This is to protect the rivers and drainage basins that storm drains empty into, as the runoff can carry toxic chemicals and other materials that can alter the natural balance of the river or lake ecosystem.  One of the best ways to combat this effect is to have paths of woodchips or gravel, as opposed to cement.  The gravel and woodchips can absorb the water, as opposed to letting water run off, as cement does. You can save on walkway construction costs and will not have to sacrifice anything on design either!

While it is still quite expensive, solar energy is also worth considering.  There’s a 20% federal tax credit on systems, and many states (and some counties) have credits as well.  The payback period is still around 20 years, depending on quite a few factors, but is well worth it, espically if your house was designed well and is not an energy hog in the first place.  The lower your baseload (typical energy usage) is, the smaller number of solar panels you’ll need, recuding your system cost.

Good, eco-friendly design can easily be as visually appealing (or more so) than non eco-friendly design.  It’s also a great starting point, as you can design in many energy saving features, such as lots of windows. Seriously thinking about the lifecycle costs of many decisions made reguarding your home can allow you to live in a more eco (and wallett) friendly way.  Who wouldnt want that?