Stand Under My (Insurance) Umbrella: Workers’ Comp Can Cover Physical Therapy

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If you’ve just been injured on the job and need rehabilitation services to get back to work, your first question is most likely, “Will my workers’ compensation plan cover my treatment?”

The short answer? Yes. Well, probably.

Actually, the answer is a bit more complicated because workers’ compensation benefits can vary from state to state. Unfortunately, not all states require employers to provide their employees with this kind of coverage—and the states that do might also offer certain exemptions. For example, in Ohio, all employers with at least one employee are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, but in Utah, employers in real estate and insurance sales, small agricultural operations, household domestic work, and occasional “casual” employment are exempted from providing workers’ comp.

The good news is that you have resources to help determine your specific coverage. You can check state-by-state coverage comparisons—like this one—to get an idea of the workers’ comp landscape across the board, but I recommend checking your state’s workers’ compensation website for the latest regulations.

If you’re covered—congrats!

But you’re not out of the woods yet. Generally, if your physical therapist (PT) recommends a medically necessary treatment for your work-related condition, workers’ comp will pay for it—including your travel costs to and from therapy. However, alternative modalities—like biofeedback and acupuncture—that some physical therapists use may not be covered. Also, keep in mind that even if your state requires workers’ comp, it may still limit the number of physical therapy visits per injury (or over your lifetime).

Before you go, here’s one last piece of advice: at your first visit, let your physical therapist know that your injury is work-related. That way, your PT knows to bill your workers’ compensation insurance provider, not your primary insurance provider. It’ll save both you and your physical therapist a whole lot of time and headache.

Of course, I hope you never get injured—at work or otherwise—but if you do, make sure you’re covered, so you can #getpt.

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