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Physiotherapy insurance has become increasingly important in recent years, as the cost of treatment has risen significantly, so you might be keen to look into getting a physiotherapy health insurance policy.

What is physiotherapy insurance cover?

Physiotherapy health insurance cover is designed to cover physiotherapist treatment and make it more affordable for individuals, often removing cost as a barrier to accessing treatment.

It may be used on top of or in place of NHS funding, depending on your circumstances. If you suffer from any form of musculoskeletal pain or disease, physiotherapy can help to speed up recovery times and improve mobility so that you're able to get back to work faster.

A doctor may also refer you if you have a condition such as osteoarthritis or had an accident that's led to back pain because physical therapy helps treat these conditions too. Many employers provide private health insurance that covers physiotherapy, but other people opt to take out their own policy with specialist providers.

This can be particularly useful if you need ongoing care, are self-employed, or just want access to a greater range of physiotherapists. Some insurers only cover outpatient treatments whilst others offer inpatient physio too.

There are certain times of the year when physiotherapy costs increase due to seasonal conditions like sports injuries (often related to playing football) or cold weather conditions, which lead to increased usage; thus, buying extra insurance at these times means you won't end up paying more than necessary.

Does health insurance cover physiotherapy?

Most private health insurance policies include physiotherapy coverage as a standard benefit; however, some require you to pay for it additionally. You can pick unlimited coverage for a larger monthly price, or you can have your coverage limits to keep your premiums low.

The latter option restricts you to a certain number of sessions per year or a certain length of coverage. When you file a claim on your health insurance, your insurer will need to diagnose you in order to figure out what caused your accident or illness.

This could be done through a GP or a medical helpline, and if you're approved, you'll be recommended for physiotherapy treatment, which your insurer will cover.

Is physiotherapy covered as standard?

If you have a pre-existing condition when you purchase your health insurance policy, you will not be covered for that ailment. You are only covered for conditions that arise after you take out the policy, as with any private medical insurance.

It's also a good idea to study your insurance documentation thoroughly to know what the policy covers and what it does not. Physiotherapy is covered by most private medical insurance policies as an inpatient benefit, i.e., after an operation, treatment, or procedure.

What does physiotherapy insurance cover?

Physiotherapy encompasses a wide range of medical treatments, including but not limited to:

  • Mobility exercises can help with stiff joints and can also be beneficial after an unexpected stay in bed, such as following a stroke
  • Massages help to relax and loosen the muscles and tissues in your body
  • Manipulation involves applying pressure to a specific location of the body in order to relieve back pain, strain, and increase mobility
  • Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into your body at specified places
  • Electrotherapy is a pain-relieving technique that employs electrical energy.

Which physiotherapist can you use?

This depends on your insurer. Most insurers offer a list of physiotherapists that you can choose from, but some do allow you to choose any. To be sure, discuss this with your insurer before purchasing a plan.

Health insurance plans with physiotherapy cover

Every health insurance plan is different, even if it covers physiotherapy. See what is covered by the following health insurance providers in the UK:

Aviva

  • Clinical evaluation over the phone (a fully qualified physiotherapist will conduct up to 5 telephone clinical examinations each year)
  • Programmes tailored to the individual
  • Online individualised fitness programmes or access to a network of physiotherapists for additional treatment (Depending on evaluation results)
  • Virtual physiotherapy — a personalised online programme with exercises adapted to your unique needs and easy-to-follow demo videos (plus follow-up calls to see how things are going)
  • Physiotherapy on a one-on-one basis
  • Face-to-face physiotherapy during telephone clinical assessment (an appointment is booked with one of Aviva's partners such as IPRS Health)
  • Information that is only available online
  • Physiotherapy specialists give a plethora of information to help you maintain your musculoskeletal health and well-being

Bupa

  • Guaranteed 60 per cent reimbursement for physiotherapy services provided in Bupa's clinic
  • Up to 100 per cent reimbursement for customers who have Bupa Extras coverage at its highest level

Exeter

  • Physiotherapy service can be used without the need to claim on Health+ policy
  • Does not affect No Claims Discount or future premiums

Freedom

  • Physiotherapy is included with outpatient cover, along with other services

AXA

  • Covers physiotherapists outpatient treatment fees
  • Ongoing sessions (once the company consults with an expert)
  • Up to ten sessions per year (when AXA's GP or Working Body service has referred you or your employees to see a physiotherapist or osteopath)

Vitality

  • Virtual rehabilitation
  • Face-to-face treatment
  • Follow-up treatment sessions

Why should I have it?

Physiotherapy cover provides you peace of mind that your bills will be covered in case anything does go wrong – so it's definitely worth getting if you have high enough cover.

What does physiotherapy cover?

Physiotherapists provide movement and exercise, manual treatment, education, and counselling to those who have been injured, ill, or disabled.

Is physiotherapy covered by health insurance?

Physiotherapy is provided free of charge by the NHS across the United Kingdom. Privately, your insurer may or may not cover it depending upon the plan you choose.

Do I need a GP referral to claim my physiotherapy insurance?

You may be able to self-refer, or you may need to see your GP or consultant first, depending on where you reside. After discussing your symptoms with your doctor, they may then refer you to a physiotherapist.

Will I get to choose my physiotherapy clinic?

Insurers may have a list of physiotherapy clinics to choose from or allow you to choose on your own.

How can you keep the cost of physiotherapy cover down?

You can select a plan with fewer options or compare various insurance companies and choose an affordable one.

How quickly can I access care?

You might see a doctor first, or you might skip the doctor and go straight to a physiotherapist, depending on the seriousness of your injury.

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