Misconceptions about Physical Therapy, part 1

Feb 20, 2024
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Part 1 in a series of posts to help clarify some widely held misconceptions about Physical Therapy. This part specifically addresses insurance coverage and differences in Physical Therapists.

Myth: Physical Therapy isn’t covered by insurance

Truth: Most insurance companies do provide coverage for Physical Therapy. In most instances, it will fall under your “specialist” copay or coinsurance and may or may not require a referral from your primary medical provider. Your insurance should also be able to provide a list of covered providers or offer a provider finder service on their website. Each insurance is typically different when it comes to limitations in coverage, so as always, when it comes to healthcare, it is always best to contact your provider to verify coverage prior to attending appointments to avoid surprises!


Myth: All Physical Therapists are the same

Truth: There are many Physical Therapy schools across the country (and similar programs around the world). According to the accrediting commission (CAPTE) for Physical Therapy and Physical Therapist Assistant programs, as of December 2022, there were 294 accredited Physical Therapy programs and 396 accredited Physical Therapist Assistant programs in the United States (and 1 outside of the US). This equates to over 37,000 student PTs and over 10,000 student PTAs.

Through their education, clinical learning processes, and post-graduation clinical development, Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants develop their own approaches. How boring would PT be if all of the current and future PTs and PTAs treated exactly the same? Other factors go into the variety of Physical Therapy approaches out there. Different types of clinics have different focuses (some are more manual therapy based while others are more exercise based). There are also many different opportunities for further specialized training. Even things as innate as a PT or PTAs personality create differences in treatments.  There really is no limitation to the potential for variety between locations.