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The Pros And Cons of Cash-Based Physical Therapy

When pain is so consistent that it affects a person’s daily life and activities, it is time to start looking for ways to relieve it. Many people schedule an appointment with their primary care doctor, who gives them a referral to a physical therapist. Sometimes, however, reimbursement by health insurance companies is so frustrating that patients give up and live with the pain. There is another way. Cash-based therapy can provide help to patients without the hassles of insurance companies. Keep reading for the pros and cons of this practice.

Problems with Insurance Companies

Many insurance companies are not paying for physical therapy completely. Patients have copays or deductibles for each visit. For a physical therapist to be in-network with an insurance company, they must use the agreed upon insurance company’s rate, which can sometimes be low.

Clinics, then try to make up for the rate by increasing the number of patients they schedule. They may book too many patients on a physical therapist’s schedule. This translates into poor care and the lack of a personal experience. Patients may receive care from a physical therapy technician or athletic trainer rather than a physical therapist. They may also see a different therapist each time they go to therapy, leading to poor continuity of care.

Cash-Based Benefit

Because cash-based physical therapists do not bill insurance companies, they often give better care. This provides the patient the power to find the clinic with the best fit for their problem. With cash-based physical therapy, patients can choose the length of their treatments and the amount of one-on-one time with their physical therapist. They can decide if they want to be treated by one physical therapist throughout their care if they are satisfied with being helped by assistants.

Patients choosing to work with a variety of providers can also decrease their overall cost. Studies show that when patients paid with cash, they had fewer total physical therapist visits, required less true cost per visit, and decreased overall cost for the entire treatment.

Ability to Choose a Specialist

Physical therapy specialists who work on a cash-pay system often have special certifications and more experience from treating a higher number of patients with a specific problem. Patients paying with cash can look around and choose a well-equipped specialist to handle their problem.

Customized Treatment Plans

Cash-pay physical therapy clinics can make customized plans to address specific patient injuries, goals, and treatment plans. They can provide outstanding patient care without many patients to treat. Without the demands of insurance companies, therapists can focus more on the patient by creating a personalized experience. Patients can receive early access, attention, and fast results.

Upfront Pricing

Paying cash for therapy is simple compared to dealing with insurance companies. Treatments can begin at $100, which is about half of the traditional cost of physical therapy when insurance companies are involved. There is no administrative overhead for billing, so cash-pay therapists can reduce their overall fees.

Even when paying cash, patients may be able to submit the billing claim to their insurance company for reimbursement. Healthcare costs are rising, and many people choose to use strategic ways to cover their healthcare. Patients paying cash for physical therapy services will pay more out of pocket. However, the benefits may outweigh the cost. 

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