Almost everyone benefits from physical therapy at some point in their lives whether it is prescribed to recover from an injury, to follow a post-operative treatment, to relieve pain, or to build strength and flexibility.
Medicare benefits for physical therapy
Medicare Part B is the segment of Medicare benefits that covers outpatient care, which includes physical therapy. On the Medicare.gov website, there is a note that states, “Medicare law no longer limits how much it pays for your medically necessary outpatient therapy services in one calendar year.”
With your healthcare provider’s verification of medical necessity, Medicare Part B covers the evaluation and treatment of injuries and diseases that prohibit normal function. Physical therapy may be needed to remedy the issue, maintain the present functionality or slow the decline. As the patient, you are responsible for 20% of the Medicare-approved amount in addition to the Medicare Part B deductible. In 2020, the Part B deductible is $198 per year under Original Medicare benefits.
Other provisions of Part B
In addition to outpatient care, Part B applies to visits to doctor and outpatient care and services, along with durable medical equipment and mental health services as well as other medical services. Many preventive benefits fall under the Part B umbrella, which is also referred to as medical insurance. If you have Part B as part of a Medicare Advantage plan or through your employer or employee union, check with your plan administrator. In that case, copayments, coinsurance and deductibles may vary.
Types of physical therapy
Medical News Today describes several different types of physical therapy across a wide spectrum of conditions:
- Orthopedic: Treats injuries that involve muscles, bones, ligaments, fascias and tendons.
- Geriatric: Aids the elderly with conditions that impact mobility and physical function, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, hip and joint replacements, balance disorders and incontinence.
- Neurological: Addresses neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s, brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and stroke.
- Cardiovascular: Improves physical endurance and stamina.
- Wound care: Includes manual therapies, electric stimulation and compression therapy.
- Vestibular: Restores normal balance and coordination that can result from inner ear issues.
- Decongestive: Promotes draining of fluid buildup.
Licensed physical therapists are trained to diagnose irregularities, re-establish and maintain the ability to move, and encourage activity and proper posture. These professionals operate in many different healthcare settings and sometimes visit people at home.
Value of physical therapy for Medicare recipients
As we age, we may experience falls, and loss of flexibility, strength and balance. Physical therapy can foster independence, revive functionality, mitigate pain and improve mobility.