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Cash Pay as an Affordable Option for Physical Therapy

Consider this, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, "Health care spending per person is expected to surpass $10,000 in 2016 and then march steadily higher to $14,944 in 2023." In reality, the average American spent $10,345 per person in 2016, including the cost of insurance premiums and deductibles (cnbc.com). Ouch!

With healthcare costs rising another 5% this year, it’s no wonder that people choose to forgo care. However, there are alternatives. If you are a relatively healthy individual, and you know the chances of you meeting your deductible are quite low, you may want to explore paying cash for medical services.

What is cash pay? It means that you, as a consumer of health care, can opt to pay cash and spend less for the same services covered by health insurance. The Government allows medical providers, like physical therapy clinics, to offer discounts on sessions paid on the same day of service, or ahead of time as a bundle.

A physical therapy clinic can afford to offer discounts due to the reduced administrative burden of processing unnecessary paperwork and submitting claims to insurance, and avoiding the 30-90 day wait period for reimbursement. As a result, the savings are passed along to the patient and reflected in the cash pay per session fee.

What was once reserved for the wealthy, cash or direct pay, is making more sense for middle-class Americans faced with high-deductibles, copays and coinsurance. However, please note that cash pay may not count towards an individual’s deductible. Additionally, Medicare patients are not eligible to pay cash, per Government regulations.

The good news is you can apply money from a Health Savings Account (HAS) or Flex Savings Account (FSA) dollars towards cash pay services. Physical therapy with a physician script and a receipt for services is an allowable expense.

If you are recovering from injury or illness, experiencing chronic pain, or simply want to start exercising and haven’t done so in years, a physical therapist can help. Physical therapists are clinicians specially trained to help people improve the way their bodies move, feel and function and enhance a person’s quality of life. Most physical therapists have a two-year master’s degree or even a doctorate in physical therapy, and are licensed in the state in which they work. Their schooling trains them how to identify and treat limitations, dysfunction, and teach proper body mechanics and prevent future injuries. Treatment includes hands-on therapy accompanied by select exercises and stretches meant to help the individual regain strength and function. Physical therapists also design home exercise plans that compliment on-site therapy and continue to improve the patient’s path toward success, even after therapy sessions have ended. Most physical therapy consists of two to three times a week, ranging from two weeks to a month or two in duration.

If you think physical therapy is something you need, but may be cost-prohibitive, explore paying cash for services and combining it with HSA or FSA pre-tax dollars. If interested, call Barclay Physical Therapy at 248-853-5853 for a list of cash fees.

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