Why paying cash for physical therapy services is best

There are multiple advantages to paying cash for medical services, and this holds particularly true for physical therapy treatment. Direct payment for services provided eliminates a third party (insurance) dictating how, when, what, and how much cash healthcaretreatment a patient can have. In an insurance-based reimbursement system, costs are much higher due to expense incurred trying to recover what is owed from the insurance company. With increased cost for insurance premiums, and rising out of pocket costs for deductibles and copays, payments from insurance companies to healthcare providers have remained flat or been reduced. With increased cost to provide care, the only way to make up the revenue is to increase volume (See more patients in less time). This causes the quality of treatment to suffer.

With a direct payment arrangement, by eliminating the expense and time of the billing functions, and insurance dictated documentation requirements, there is significantly more 1-on-1 time for the physical therapist with the patient, and will produce quicker results for a reduced overall cost.

With the changes caused due to the Affordable Care Act, many physician and physical therapy practices have adopted a retainer-based, or concierge practice where they see only a set number of patients for a flat annual fee, or offer treatment packages that cover a set number of visits for a particular injury or ailment.  As the ACA mandated in 2014, individuals are required to be covered by an insurance plan. Patients that want to spend their money wisely should opt for insurance plans that are low in premium with higher deductibles that are compatible with a health savings account (HSA). HSA dollars are deposited before they are taxed, and as long as they are used for qualified medical expenses, there is no tax penalty, which increases your buying power.

By paying directly for medical services, it forces the patient to take a more involved role in their health, and well-being, and removes the insurance company from the therapist-patient relationship.

In summary, direct payment increases quality of treatment, lowers cost, eliminates insurance companies power in dictating treatment, and improves the relationship between patients and healthcare providers.

Trevor Field is a physical therapist in Rancho Cucamonga, California, specializing in treatment of adolescent athletes, and has developed programs for ACL injury prevention, sports performance enhancement, and fibromyalgia. To learn more, go to www.FormFunctionPT.com

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