It still amazes me that I was able to turn my passion into a full blown business that allows me to help people every single day. On Pointe has been open for about 2 1/2 years now and continues to grow every day. It was about 2 years ago that I first wrote a post on why I stopped working with insurance companies to open a cash based PT practice (you can read it here). I wanted to touch back on this subject now that I have way more insight and perspective on it. While many of the reasons I wrote in that first post still ring true, I have way more real life experience to draw on now. I want toeducate you as much as possible on why you should consider paying out of pocket next time you need Physical Therapy.
First, let's make sure we are all on the same page. What does it mean when I use the term "cash based PT"? Basically, this means that your therapist does not accept insurance and works solely on a private pay basis. I think we need to change the connotation that surrounds cash based PT, because the reality is most patients feel it is outside of their means . The first words I usually hear when I tell someone what I do is, "that must cost a fortune" or "that sounds really expensive". Guess what-- its not, and its important that you know why its worth it! Yes, you are paying out of pocket but you are getting a high quality, personalized service in return. Many people don't even think twice about going out to buy nice work out cloths or healthy food, but when it comes to paying out of pocket for better health care we suddenly freeze up. We need to change our mindsets because our health is worth it and is the best investment we can make.
So here are my top 10 reasons why cash based Physical Therapy might be for you:
1. More one-on-one time with your therapist. This is 100%, without a doubt, the most important piece to me (and most of my patients as well!). When you are not worried about billing insurance companies and being reimbursed for your time, you suddenly have much more of it to give to your patients. There are typically no aides or trainers involved in your session, it is all time spent with your therapist. Most PT's went into this business because they love working with and helping people. This therapy approach really allows us to get back to the reason we became PT's in the first place.
2. More personalized attention. When you are working one-on-one with your therapist, I can assure you the care you are getting is far more personalized then it would be otherwise. Your therapist won't be running back and forth between patients, the focus is 100% on you. This allows us to really assess each of your movements and make adjustments based on what is happening during each exercise. The end result is a completely individualized treatment plan to correct your specific muscle imbalances and help you get better faster!
3. Builds a strong patient-provider relationship. Now, I know this one may sound a bit redundant but it sure is important. When you are being treated in a cash based PT setting you build a really strong relationship with your therapist. You are probably going to be spending a lot of quality time together and end up feeling more like friends in the end. Trusting your therapist has a huge impact on your healing, and having the opportunity to get to know them one-on-one really allows for a deeper sense of trust to develop. All of my patients have my cell phone number and know they can call, text or email whenever they need me. Most cash based PT's I know do exactly the same for their patients.
4. It may actually save you money in the long run. Since you are spending more one-on-one time with your therapist, it means we don't need to see you as often. Most cash based PT's see their patients 1x/wk for a full hour. Sometimes we only need 3-4 visits initially, and then send you on your way to work on your individual program for a few weeks before returning. For some, this totals out to be much less than they would be spending even using their insurance.
Take this scenario for instance: a patient with a high copay of $60 per visit (more common than you think) who needs to go to PT 2-3x/wk will spend at least $120 each week, and they likely are only spending ~20 minutes of one-on-one time with their PT at each visit. With a cash based PT practice, you may pay a little more per visit BUT need less frequent appointments and spend less total time in the clinic each week. Plus, you are getting far more time spent working directly with your PT. Quality over quantity.
5. More freedom to address multiple issues at the same time. While it is extremely unfair, insurance companies strongly dictate if you get better or not based on what they will approve. Did you know that under insurance PT's can only bill for treating one body part at a time? That means that you would need 2 separate evals and visits each week to be able to bill your insurance for 2 problems. In some cases your PT may be able to justify it, but they better be prepared for a lot of extra paperwork, which means less time for personalized patient care. Crazy right!? In the case of cash based PT-- not an issue! We can treat whatever issues you are having without you needing to worry about it being denied by your insurance. Again, the outcome is you getting better faster because you are actually getting the care your PT knows you need.
6. More freedom to explore the root cause of the problem. With longer one-on-one appointments and not worrying about insurance approvals, your PT can perform a thorough assessment of strengths, weaknesses, imbalances and how you move. This means we have a full picture of what is going on. It may be your hip that is pinching, but WHY!? Maybe you don't have a strong core or your upper back mobility is limited. So we work on all of these areas and make sure to address the reason it happened in the first place. This results in you living pain free and preventing issues from returning in the future. No insurance denial involved.
7. You might be able to get reimbursed by your insurance company. Depending on your out-of-network benefits, your insurance company may actually reimburse you for your visits! Just make sure you get a superbill from your PT that you can submit to your insurance company. At On Pointe, I always provide my patients with a superbill on request.
8. More flexible scheduling. If you only need to see your PT once a week, it is so much easier to schedule that appointment! In the case of On Pointe Wellness, you have even more freedom to schedule with me, because I come directly to YOU! Not all cash based PT offers this specifically, but you are far more likely to encounter this with cash-based PT over insurance based PT.
The last 2 are my favorite...
9. Empowering you to help heal yourself. A good Physical Therapist will not "heal you" they will teach you to help heal yourself. Physical Therapists do not want you to use us as a crutch, we want you to take your health and wellness into your own hands. You have the power to help heal yourself, we just give you the guidance you need to get there. By choosing cash based PT, you have already taken a huge step towards empowering yourself, because you have made the commitment to invest in your health. The truth is, patients who pay out of pocket are far more committed to their treatment plan because they have paid their hard earned money for it.
10. Your health is worth any amount and is the BEST investment you could ever make. It is simple, you only get one body and one chance-- take care of it!!
All of this really comes back to one main point. Cash based Physical Therapy has the ability to provide you with the highest quality of care. Aren't we all looking for a better experience with health care these days? I can promise you that high quality, affordable care still exists and your insurance company does not have to be the barrier.
For me, 2 1/2 years later, I could not be happier with the choice that I made. As with most PT's who switch to a cash based model, my intentions have always been to put my patients first and give them the care they deserve. I can now say with certainty that I am able to provide them with a better patient experience than they would get anywhere else.
If you are considering cash based Physical Therapy for yourself, start with a simple Google search for PT's who may provide this in your area. I highly suggest taking advantage of a phone or in-person consultation so you can get a better feel for if this is the right way to go. In the end, its all about fulfilling your individual needs. Stay informed, do your homework and know that there are still so many health care providers out there who truly care about helping you live your best life!