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Don't use your insurance to pay for physical therapy

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You heard right...don’t use your insurance to pay for physical therapy.


As a physical therapist, I hear all the time that people don’t go to see their physical therapist because it just isn’t worth it. “It costs too much, and I can do the exercises at home.” This is a common complaint. These days, going to see a physical therapist is no longer valuable in the eyes of the patient.


The question is...why? Physical therapists are more educated now than ever before. They have greater access to research and the latest and greatest treatment methods that have the potential to heal all kinds of ailments.


But the service physical therapists provide is no longer being seen as valuable. Value is defined as the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. So how can physical therapy be more valuable to the patient?


Pay cash.


Yes, you heard right...don’t use your insurance to pay for physical therapy. This article explains the reasons why paying cash for physical therapy could give you a better value service. It could also save you money in the long run. So, what are the reasons to pay cash?



One of the most important aspects of physical therapy that one has to consider is this… “Is it worth my time?” Time is one of the most valuable things that each person possesses. It is also a nonrenewable resource. Once the time is gone, you cannot get it back. So going to physical therapy has to be worth the amount of time that someone is putting into it.


So answer this question. Do you prefer if a physical therapist spends 15-20 minutes to work on your problem? Or would you rather the PT take a full 50-60 minutes to completely assess your condition and come up with a plan of action for treating it?

To me this is a no-brainer. I want the therapist’s full attention the entire time that I am there. I don’t want an incomplete assessment with a half-hearted plan.


Time (part 2)

The second consideration is also in regards to time, but from a different angle. Since you are getting a more complete assessment and treatment, it means you won’t have to go to as many physical therapy visits.

Would you rather take 2-3 hours out of your week for physical therapy (2-3 visits a week) or just 1 hour (1x per week)? And if you consider drive time to the office, it adds up to even more time than that.


As mentioned before, time is the one nonrenewable resource we have. Taking out multiple hours from our week is taking time away from the other activities we would rather like to be doing.




One of the first objections to paying out of pocket for physical therapy is always cost. So here are the facts. Insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles are all on the rise. A typical physical therapy co-pay might be $50 per visit (many are higher).

A typical plan of care in an insurance based physical therapy practice might be 2x per week for 6 weeks (total of 12 visits).

12 visits x $50 = $600

Now for a cash based physical therapy practice, a plan of care would likely be more like 4-5 visits over a period of 6 weeks.

5 visits x $125 = $625

You might be saying that it is more expensive, but consider the time value again.

Insurance based:   12 visits x 20 minutes = 240 total minutes

Cash based: 5 visits x 60 minutes = 300 total minutes

Cash based gives you more time with your provider.




Finally, when a therapist has more time to work with a patient in each session, the quality of the session increases. A therapist is able to fully implement the manual skills, observational assessment, patient education, and the corrective exercise plan when given the time to take in the bigger picture.

When given time, we are able to treat the person, not just the injury. Every patient is different. This is not only in the the way their physical injury presents, but in how the patient will respond to the treatment being given.



I take the time to get to know my patient on a more personal level, so that they know I am not just treating their knee or shoulder or low back. They know that I truly care for them because I have taken the time to get to know them as a person. I understand the bigger picture of their overall goals and dreams and how physical therapy fits into helping them achieve those dreams.




To be extremely clear, there are some high quality physical therapists working in the insurance based model of physical therapy practice. I know many of them. These therapists genuinely care for their patients and provide the best quality service they possibly can.


But I choose a different method, one which allows me to provide the care that people deserve. I would love to help you. Take the next step and call or text me at 352-281-9660. I look forward to serving you.


Move with Freedom,

Justin Thompson, DPT




Gainesville's Premiere Personal Training Studio Specializing In Corrective Exercise

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