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How Much Physical Therapy Will Cost You Without Health Insurance

Meredith Miller Published: June 14, 2018 Updated: September 05, 2018

physical therapist and patient

Physical therapy is a great alternative if you have a condition that may require surgery or any other invasive procedure. Physical therapists (PTs) are legitimate healthcare professionals and have to be licensed and adhere to certain standards in order to practice. The plans developed by PTs are great for managing pain, preventing future health hardships, and restoring your mobility, but just how much will physical therapy cost?

Will Your Health Insurance Cover Physical Therapy?

Yes, your health insurance plan will most likely cover your physical therapy needs. Under the Affordable Care Act, marketplace health insurance plans, or any qualified health plan for that matter, is required to cover rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, and physical therapy falls under that category as long as it’s medically necessary.

Most major health insurance companies or employer-sponsored health plans will offer coverage for physical therapy. However, if you choose an unqualified health insurance plan that does not include minimum essential benefits, a short-term health plan, for example, you may end up paying for your physical therapy out-of-pocket.

The Average Cost Of Physical Therapy Without Health Insurance

Physical therapy can cost you, but it’s usually less expensive than other surgical or pain management procedures. Prices also vary depending on the physical therapist you are seeing and therapy you receive, among other factors. On average, physical therapy costs anywhere from $50-$350 per session, according to Thumbtack.

Some physical therapy session costs, according to GuideDoc, can even be broken down to every 15 minutes. Depending on the therapy session, you may be billed as high as $135 per 15 minutes, which would equate to $540 for a one-hour session. If these prices sound too high to you, it’s time you think about getting covered. Compare some of the best health insurance plans for physical therapy with First Quote Health.

The Cost Of Physical Therapy With Health Insurance

Your health insurance plan will probably cover some, if not most of your physical therapy. Cost for physical therapy with insurance will vary depending on the plan that you have. If you are just looking for the average cost of physical therapy with health insurance, expect to pay anywhere from $20-$75 for your copay, and an additional 10%-50% for your coinsurance.

Other Cost Factors To Consider

So far, we’ve only touched on the cost of physical therapy per session, but exactly how many sessions will you have to attend before your therapy is completed? Well, that number varies just like the cost of physical therapy. You can benefit from just one PT session, or it may take months or years to get your desired results. On average, expect to need around 7 to 10 physical therapy sessions before seeing any kind of results.

Since you will most likely need multiple visits or sessions, your costs are going to add up. The American Physical Therapy Association released a study in which the determined the average physical therapy cost for low back pain. The study concluded that over the course of around 4 sessions, patients were paying around $504. If you were to break that down, it roughly $882 to $1,260 for the average 7 to 10 sessions.

There are a variety of other factors to take into account as well. You may need to purchase medical equipment such as heat packs or cold presses. These additional factors can add up as well and may end up costing you.

How To Reduce Costs For Physical Therapy

If you’re a savvy consumer, which hopefully you are, you are probably wondering if there are any ways you can save on your physical therapy costs. Great news, you can! Whether you have health insurance or not, there are plenty of ways you can cut down on your physical therapy costs. Here’s how.

Stay In-Network

If you have health coverage, your plan probably already has a list of preferred providers for you to choose from. These medical providers have already worked out negotiated rates with your health insurance company, and those savings will be passed on to you. Staying in-network is usually a great way to save money for all your medical needs, not just physical therapy.

Negotiating Cash Payments

If you don’t have health insurance, or do but don’t like your providers, you will have to pay your physical therapist on your own. The silver lining is that since there will be less administrative costs associated with your therapy, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate. That’s right, you can negotiate for low-cost physical therapy just like your health insurance company does, which is a perfect way to save money.

Spend Less Time With Your PT

Talk to your physical therapist and see if there are ways to reduce the amount of time spent for each rehabilitation sessions or reduce the overall amount of sessions. This money saving tip will be highly dependent on your injury or condition, but you may be able to work out an at-home plan with your physical therapist.