LivaFortis looks at information to answer the question: is virtual physical therapy cheaper than in-person physical therapy.

Is Virtual Physical Therapy Cheaper Than In-Person Physical Therapy?

7 min readMar 28, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the choice between virtual and in-person physical therapy has become a significant consideration for many who are looking for rehabilitation services.

Besides the most obvious differences in convenience and accessibility, one pressing question stands out: Is virtual physical therapy cheaper than its in-person counterpart?

In this article we take a look into the costs associated with both options. We examine the differences in accessibility around the country and considering not just the financial aspects but also the often overlooked factors like time off work, childcare expenses, insurance limitations, and access to care challenges. Want to know more? Keep reading!

Understanding Physical Therapy Costs: A National Overview

To begin our journey into the world of physical therapy costs, let’s examine the general landscape in the United States.

As of 2024, the average cost per session for in-person physical therapy varies widely across states. According to recent data from healthcare cost analysis platforms, such as FAIR Health, the average cost of a physical therapy session ranges from approximately $75 to $200 per visit.

State-Wise Variations in In-Person Physical Therapy Costs

  1. California: As one of the most populous states, California tends to have higher average costs for healthcare services. A comprehensive new analysis of health care accessibility and openness by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The study ranked California’s healthcare system 40th of the 50 states.
  2. Texas: In contrast, Texas generally has lower healthcare costs but it also has the lowest percentage of insured adults and children. In-person physical therapy sessions in the Lonestar State are often priced between $75 and $150 per session.
  3. New York: In 2023 those living in this bustling metropolis paid some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country. In the Big Apple the cost of physical therapy sessions in are often on the higher side. Average charges may vary from $100 to $200 per visit.
  4. Florida: While many may be attracted to this state for the gorgeous weather and low taxes, a Forbes analysis found that ‘Florida was the fourth most expensive state for healthcare in the country’. The analysis, based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that ‘residents with employer-provided family health coverage pay more than $7,000 annually’. This is the highest premium of any state in the country! In the Sunshine State, the average cost for in-person physical therapy sessions falls within the range of $80 to $160 per session.

Note: These figures are approximate and based on general trends as of 2023. Actual costs may vary based on the specific provider, location, and type of physical therapy required.

Is Virtual Physical Therapy Cheaper?

With advancements in technology, virtual physical therapy has emerged as a viable alternative, offering the convenience of at-home sessions. But does this convenience come at a lower cost? Let’s explore.

1. Telehealth Platforms and Affordability

Telehealth platforms have gained popularity for providing digital physical therapy services. The costs associated with virtual sessions often range from $50 to $150 per visit. This range can be influenced by factors like who is providing the care, how complex the medical need it, and where the therapy is taking place.

For providers there are fewer cancellations, which means less revenue is lost, they may not need as many staff to run their office, and they have less time wasted between appointments. These cost savings add up to more affordable care for clients.

2. Insurance Coverage for Virtual Physical Therapy

Insurance coverage for virtual physical therapy has expanded, making it more accessible to a broader population. Many insurance plans now cover telehealth services, reducing the out-of-pocket costs for patients. It is a good idea for clients to check with their insurance providers or their employee health plan to see if virtual physical therapy is covered.

3. Economic Savings Beyond Direct Costs

Beyond the direct costs of therapy sessions, virtual physical therapy offers potential economic savings in other areas. Patients undergoing virtual therapy sessions can save on commuting costs, parking fees, and the time spent traveling to and from appointments.

The Less-Obvious Costs of In-Person Physical Therapy: Unpacking the True Expense

While evaluating the cost-effectiveness of virtual versus in-person physical therapy, it’s essential to consider the less-obvious expenses associated with traditional in-person sessions.

  1. Time Off Work: In-person physical therapy often requires individuals to take time off work for each session. The financial impact of missed workdays can add up quickly, contributing to the overall cost of rehabilitation.
  2. Childcare Expenses: For individuals with children, arranging for childcare during in-person therapy sessions can be an additional cost. Virtual therapy eliminates the need for childcare, making it a more family-friendly option.
  3. Transportation Costs: The cost of transportation to and from in-person therapy sessions, whether by car or public transit, can be a notable expense. Virtual therapy eliminates these costs entirely.

Insurance Limitations and Access to Care Challenges: A Closer Look

While insurance coverage can significantly impact the overall costs of physical therapy, it’s essential to recognize the limitations that some health insurance companies place on physical therapy benefits.

Many insurance plans have restrictions on the number of sessions covered, requiring individuals to navigate complex policies to ensure continued access to care.

Limitations Affecting Access

  1. Session Limits and Authorization Requirements: Some insurance plans impose session limits on physical therapy, creating challenges for individuals requiring extended rehabilitation. Additionally, pre-authorization requirements can lead to delays in accessing necessary care.
  2. Out-of-Network Providers and Costs: Accessing out-of-network physical therapy providers may result in higher out-of-pocket costs for individuals. A study published in the journal, Physical Therapy, found that ‘out-of-pocket expenditure negatively predicts physical therapy utilization’. This makes understanding network restrictions and exploring in-network options crucial for managing expenses.
  3. Geographical Disparities in Access: Geographic location can also influence access to physical therapy services, particularly in rural areas where healthcare resources may be limited. Individuals in such areas may face challenges in finding nearby providers, impacting both convenience and cost.

The Role of Insurance in Shaping Costs Of Digital Physical Therapy And In-Person Physical Therapy

Understanding how insurance coverage impacts the overall cost of physical therapy is crucial. Every insurance plan offers different levels of reimbursement which can affect either how much physical therapy people can access or if they can access it at all.

While coverage for virtual physical therapy has expanded, it is essential to navigate policy specifics. You should check with your insurance provider to determine what type of coverage limits or copayments you might have. They can also tell you if there are any additional requirements for virtual therapy services.

Digital Physical Therapy Companies To Watch

While many digital physical therapy companies offer their services through employer-based health insurance plans, this still doesn’t make care accessible to everyone. Not all employers offer this benefit to their employees. And then what happens to care if you leave the company? Can you still access your digital PT program? It would be unlikely.

Another group of people who may not be able to access these programs is the self-employed. Recent data from the Current Population Survey estimates that there are around 16.5 million Americans (around 10% of the population) who are self-employed. What do they do?

Companies like LivaFortis and OneStep are addressing these issues of health equity and access to care by making their products available directly to consumers and not relying on reimbursement from health insurance companies, or employers.


In the evolving landscape of healthcare, the choice between virtual and in-person physical therapy goes beyond the direct session costs. Considerations such as time off work, childcare expenses, transportation costs, insurance limitations, and access to care challenges play a significant role in determining the true economic impact of rehabilitation.

As of 2024, virtual physical therapy emerges as a potentially cost-effective alternative, offering not only affordability but also added conveniences and economic savings. The decision between virtual and in-person therapy should be based on individual needs, preferences, and the extent of insurance coverage.

It’s essential to stay informed, talk with your healthcare providers, and explore insurance options so that you can make well-informed decisions about your rehabilitation journey. Whether opting for virtual or in-person therapy, the ultimate goal is improved health and well-being.

*Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical, financial, or insurance advice. Individuals should consult with their healthcare providers, insurance representatives, and relevant professionals for personalized guidance.




LivaFortis is an innovative global company that uses AI and biofeedback technology to make digital physical therapy accessible to all.