Is Cheap Physical Therapy Good?

cheap physical therapy

Physical therapy isn’t cheap. Anybody who has had a debilitating injury or condition will tell you that. While an individual session may be affordable, many treatment plans last for months or even years.

The price for each physical therapy session varies, as the treatment plan is customized to the patient’s needs. The most common price for a physical therapy session is roughly $150. Depending on the treatment center, it can be a little more or less per session. That is not counting the cost of the initial evaluation, which is typically more in-depth and expensive than regular sessions.

If you have health coverage, you can typically expect your insurance policy to cover up to 80% of the cost of your physical therapy sessions. This means that for every $150 you spend you can expect to pay roughly $30. That’s fairly affordable, depending on the number of days per week you require physical therapy. There are methods you can use to save even more money on physical therapy, but that can beg the question: Can cheap physical therapy be good?

Defining ‘Cheap’

When talking about “cheap” physical therapy, remember that the term cheap is subjective. What is affordable to some may not be affordable to others. For some, it’s cheaper to spend a larger sum of money up front, but spend less over the long haul of a treatment plan. For others, it will make more sense to spend the smaller amount upfront, even if recovery takes longer. Financial outlay is a tightrope walk only you can assess for yourself.

Quality of Care

Whether you’re paying a large amount of money or not, you’re entitled to good quality care. There’s no reason to opt for “cheap” physical therapy if a basic standard of care isn’t met.

Cost Effective Treatment

Your insurance is usually the first means to get affordable PT. If you’re approved, your insurance will likely handle the bulk of the costs. However, that $30 per visit becomes more expensive if you have to make multiple visits per week for many months. There are cost-effective means to get your physical therapy beyond the amount of money that your insurance covers.

Trainee Opportunities

It is possible to receive free or reduced-cost physical therapy. There are many physical therapy facilities that offer services to patients who are willing to receive the treatment from trainees. To some, this may sound like being a guinea pig, but such sessions are always conducted under the supervision of fully trained physical therapists.

What About DIY Solutions?

If you’re looking to save money, the do-it-yourself approach can be a viable option under the right circumstances. This doesn’t mean that you should go out and start buying exercise equipment and using YouTube for your reference. You still need to speak with a doctor and physical therapy specialist to determine if it is safe for physical therapy sessions to be conducted at home. You probably still need to shell out money for at least an initial evaluation.

Once you have gone through your evaluation, you have the chance to take stock of what you’ll need to do physical therapy at home. You may have to buy things such as dumbbells, ankle weights, a medicine ball, and exercise bands. It’s unlikely insurance will cover the cost of these items, but the money you save in the long run can justify the cost.

Is this method a good idea? If a physical therapist approves of the approach and you’re willing to stick to your therapy regimen, then yes. If you worry you may fall behind, or overdo it, then no. Home physical therapy is like regular physical therapy: You get out of it what you’re willing to put into it. If you’re diligent and dedicated to your recovery then you can stay on track and save money at the same time. If you are lax and fall behind you will end up spending more money. This is because you will spend more time catching up.

There’s An App For That

These days there’s an app for everything. It should come as no surprise that there are numerous apps that can make doing physical therapy more affordable. With these apps, you can stay on track with your PT schedule, discover new ways to approach PT, and achieve your PT goals.

  • PT Pal Pro – PT Pal Pro is a program designed to increase your engagement with your physical therapy. It allows you to access your treatment plans, keep track of appointments with text message reminders, and access notes about their treatment.
  • PT Timer: Stretch and Exercise – It can be easy to say that all you have to do for PT is to exercise. However, you can botch an exercise and hurt yourself even more. PT Timer: Stretch and Exercise is an app that will coach you through your exercises so you do them correctly. It will count your reps and sets and even send a progress report to your physical therapist.
  • MyRehab – This is an app that features high quality videos and images. The images show the patient how to properly do their PT treatments. It also features information on follow-up care and first-ad should you have problems.

Paying in Cash

It may sound somewhat counterintuitive to pay for a physical therapy treatment center in cash to save money. Sometimes, though, the most expeditious treatments that can help end your need for physical therapy may not be covered by your insurance. If your insurance is only willing to cover treatments that may take more time than necessary, paying in cash may be the solution.

Like many medical practices, some physical therapy centers that allow you to pay in cash often charge less money to uninsured patients for treatments than they would normally charge an insurance provider. This will, of course, cost you more money upfront. In the long run, however, you will find that it may save you very real money.

Having this kind of cash on hand may not always be possible. With insurance driving up medical prices, it may be worth moving savings to make it a possibility. Long-term savings could mean the difference between receiving care and not going bankrupt along the way.

Discuss the difference in price paying in cash with your physical therapy center. Consider if the cash payment option is a better way to go. Oftentimes being upfront with what you can afford better enables the doctor to treat you and stay within your budget. Your physical therapist wants to help you. If helping keep your budget is a part of that, most practices will work with you.