There are many reasons to seek out a licensed, well-established physical therapist to help with back pain treatment or other injuries or ailments you might be experiencing. Often sought out because of an accident injury or illness, physical therapy can be a helpful, if not necessary, part of recovery. Alternatively, you might just need a little extra maintenance every once and a while to keep your body in the shape you desire for your lifestyle.
And while everyone wants to be healthy and improve their mobility for various reasons, the cost of physical therapy can be a huge question mark for many potential patients. Wondering whether or not you can afford physical therapy costs shouldn’t be a barrier to care. Healthcare costs can be daunting and insurance intimidating, especially when it comes to some seemingly grey areas in insurance coverage like physical therapy. Because healthcare costs do change and there are so many types of payment to navigate (premiums, deductibles,co-pays, co-insurance), it’s incredibly important to understand what type of care you’ll need to complete your healing journey and how much of that care you’re responsible for paying, whether through insurance or not. At ACIA Atlanta, our specialists work with you to determine the best course of treatment to suit your needs and your budget.
National Averages for Costs of Physical Therapy
While specific practices will vary, the average cost of an physical therapy session in the United States is around $75. This takes into consideration the cost of co-pays and the cost of uninsured sessions that are paid in full at each session. The minimum payment for an Atlanta physical therapy session is around $20, with average co-pays clocking in around $30 per session, and $125 per session without any insurance. These fees include any initial assessments, equipment used by the provider during your session, and any other tools used. Should you need lab work or additional scans or X-rays as part of your ongoing care, those may be an additional cost.
Physical Therapy Costs with Insurance
If you’ve been instructed or prescribed physical therapy as part of a treatment plan, and you have health insurance, the first thing you should do is to call your insurance provider and understand what portions of that care plan they cover. Some insurances will cover a certain number of physical therapy sessions within a calendar year. This could mean several things, however. Your insurance may have a co-pay that you are responsible for at each session. This is typically between $20 and $60 per session. Your insurance might technically “cover” the physical therapy sessions, but you have to pay the full amount of each session towards your deductible.
Another option for insurance if your sessions are not fully covered, or you still bear some financial responsibility: utilize an HSA or Health Savings Account, if you have one. This can be applied to your co-pay or deductible. One other thing to look out for is whether or not your physical therapist is in your network or not. This status will also significantly impact the amount of money you’ll owe at each session and overall.
Physical Therapy Costs without Insurance
If you do not have health insurance or your insurance does not cover the costs of physical therapy at all, don’t fret. Although you will be responsible for the entire cost of your physical therapy treatment upfront at each session, ask your physical therapist if they could put you on some type of payment plan. Sometimes physical therapy offices are able to put you on sliding-scale plans, especially if there’s a particularly expensive service.
The good news about paying in cash for your services is that you often get those services at a discounted price because your physical therapist’s office does not have to go through an insurance provider. These discounts can add up from anywhere to 30%-60% off the price providers would typically bill insurance carriers. Lastly, when planning how you’ll pay for your physical therapy care, get an itemized list of the services your physical therapist is recommending. This way, you can talk through the reasons behind their recommendations, and you can ultimately decide which services you’d like to receive and pay for.
Types of Physical Therapy
There are several types of physical therapy, but at AICA Atlanta, our physical therapists work hand-in-hand with our chiropractic staff in order to provide three main categories of care: medical physical therapy, pre-surgical physical therapy, and post-surgical physical therapy. All three of these categories are centered around healing injuries from accidents or chronic back pain associated with previous injuries or illnesses.
Medical Physical Therapy
At AICA Atlanta, our staff of experienced healthcare providers works together to give our patients comprehensive care in the aftermath of an injury or car accident. The two primary goals of our physical therapists are to strengthen the muscles that are damaged as a result of your car accident and restore your body’s natural range of motion. One of the benefits of following through with medical physical therapy is that it helps protect you from having to consider surgical options to recover from your car accident injury. The vast majority of our car accident patients do not require surgery because of our chiropractic and physical therapy treatment programs.
Pre-Surgical Physical Therapy
Pre-surgical physical therapy is typically a necessary component of accident recovery programs, helping patients undergo surgical operations by preparing their body to heal properly without the risk of physical complications. In some cases, following through with physical therapy before a surgical operation can help prevent this procedure, depending on how soon you can receive treatment. Pre-surgical physical therapy helps prepare car accident patients for the phase that begins after a surgical operation is performed while also supporting a safe and healthy recovery. By exposing your body to a variety of techniques that apply natural resistance and stress to particular areas of focus, pre-surgical physical therapy is able to provide light strength training to help stabilize your muscles, ligaments, or joints. With time, these techniques help reduce the risk of experiencing further complications or potential injury relapses that may occur post-surgery.
Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
Following through with post-surgical physical therapy helps re-strengthen or re-develop the muscles, ligaments, and joints that were damaged as a result of your car accident. The chances of experiencing some injury relapse following surgery are high when treatment is delayed or not completely conducted. Your body requires adequate time and conditioning to return to its original state and function properly. Post-surgical physical therapy allows your body to safely and naturally relearn how to follow through with basic behaviors such as walking or flexing. Using your body’s weight and a variety of techniques that apply natural resistance to your damaged muscles, you can recover from your injuries without the risk of additional or permanent damage.
Common Areas of Injury and Associated Costs
Most physical therapists will have an initial appointment for evaluations and examinations. This appointment will most likely be an hour, and it will cost whatever your insurance co-pay is or whatever your cash pay price is. However, depending on where your injury is and the extent of care needed, your costs could fluctuate. We’ll cover a few of the most common reasons that people seek out physical therapy.
Physical Therapy Costs for Knee Injuries
Physical therapy for your knee is one of the most common reasons people go to physical therapy. Knee injury treatment and recovery time varies, but the average recovery time is 6 to 8 weeks. Sessions for physical therapy to treat knees typically run between $50 to $150. The good news is that with knee pain, you can typically continue exercises at home, and you tend to see pain relief within a matter of weeks.
Physical Therapy Costs for Back Pain
Back injuries can be complicated, and sometimes pain can be chronic. Depending on your exact diagnosis and your physical therapist’s treatment plan, your costs and overall recovery time will vary. For most non-surgical patients, physical therapists usually take 8 to 10 sessions to treat pain, and the average cost of those sessions is $125. If you’ve had back surgery, your recovery time is likely going to be longer. As always, having exercises and stretches to do at home can help decrease your recovery time and help you experience pain relief faster.
Physical Therapy Costs for Shoulder Pain
One of the most commonly-treated injuries that physical therapists treat is shoulder-related pain. Specifically, athletes are common recipients of physical therapy care, often after surgery like rotator cuff surgery. This common surgery can result in up to 6 months of recovery time, and the total costs associated with surgery and recovery can creep up into thousands of dollars.
Ways to Reduce Your Physical Therapy Costs
Above, we touched on how your physical therapist will often extend discounts on services to cash-paying customers because it saves them time and money in the billing and insurance process. These discounts can amount to 30% to 50% off of what is billed to insurance. Additionally, there are other ways you can explore to try to keep the costs of physical therapy down.
Staying In-Network for Insurance
If your physical therapy is covered by your current insurance, they already have a list of physical therapy providers in their network of coverage. Choosing a provider from the list of in-network providers will definitely save on your overall costs. For instance, an insurance company may have a $20 co-pay per visit at an in-network provider, but an out-of-network provider might cost you $100 per visit.
In some cases, insurance companies may want you to seek out physical therapy in an attempt to solve your ailments non-surgically. They might require you to go through physical therapy before paying for any subsequent surgeries.
Continuing Care at Home
One way to reduce your costs is to, when appropriate and safe, do your physical therapy exercises at home. You may incur some upfront costs to purchase necessary equipment like stretching bands, yoga blocks, foam rollers, etc. However, if you’re able to get detailed instructions on how to perform exercises by your physical therapist, you can cut your recovery time- and your costs- down by diligently doing your routines at home. If your physical therapist allows, you should take videos of all the exercises you’re prescribed. Then, you can watch them at home and, if needed, ask a friend or family member to help you with any exercises that need assistance.
Physical Therapy Costs at AICA Atlanta
Physical therapy can be hugely helpful at the least and absolutely necessary at the most when healing from an injury or accident. The costs of physical therapy can vary based on the injury or affected area needing therapy, but also due to having insurance or not having insurance. If you do not have health insurance, you’re responsible for all the costs of physical therapy. Physical therapy sessions typically cost between $20 per session and $60 per session for those with insurance. These are typically paid through a co-pay. For patients without insurance, per session costs can range anywhere from $75 to $350, depending on the type of care being provided. The average range per session is $50 to $150.
At ACIA Atlanta, physical therapy goes hand in hand with our chiropractic care. Our specialists are available for medical physical therapy, pre-surgical physical therapy, and post-surgical physical therapy to aid in your injury or accident recovery. We carefully monitor you throughout your treatment to make sure your recovery stays on track. If you do need surgery, your recovery process is in good hands with our post-surgical physical therapy team. We use physical therapy to aid the healing of injured areas following surgery. Our physical therapists consult with the surgeon to ensure your treatment plan is customized to your needs. AICA Atlanta is the community’s most experienced physical therapy and accident recovery clinic, treating thousands of patients over the last 20 years.