How much do speech therapy sessions cost
There are several ways to pay for speech therapy. These include:
If you choose to pay for speech therapy out-of-pocket, the cost will vary depending on the type of therapy and the therapist you see. Some therapists may charge by the session, while others may charge by the hour. You may consider contacting a few local speech therapists to obtain quotes regarding pricing.
Private health insurance
Some or all of the speech therapy sessions may be covered by your private health insurance policy. In addition, some insurance companies may only cover speech therapy if it is considered medically necessary. Therefore, it is essential to check with your insurance company to see what coverage they provide for speech therapy.
If you are a senior citizen, Medicare may cover some of the cost of speech therapy. However, Medicare only covers medically necessary speech therapy and limits how much it will pay for services.
If you have a low income, you may be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance for low-income individuals. Medicaid coverage varies from state to state, but most states cover speech therapy for children under 21.
Several organizations offer scholarships to individuals who need speech therapy. These scholarships can help cover the cost of therapy. One example is the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program (formerly called Gardiner Scholarship), which is a scholarship program for students with special needs who live in Florida.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
If your employer offers a flexible spending account (FSA), you may be able to use these funds to pay for speech therapy. An FSA allows you to set aside a portion of your paycheck before taxes are taken out. The money can then be used to pay for eligible medical expenses, including speech therapy.
Speech Therapy Options for Toddlers in the United States
Speech therapy can be expensive, but it’s very likely that you have some options available to you. In Canada, for example, publicly funded speech therapy is provided at no cost to you (although there can be waiting lists, limits to what services you’re offered and for how long, and difficulty gaining access to SLPs in some parts of the country). Many Canadian families look into private therapy and some portion of this may be covered by your extended health insurance. In the United States, however, this isn’t always the case. So for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll focus on speech therapy options and costs for families in the United States—to help you get the therapy you need and make it as on-budget as possible.
Price Range: Free
Age Range: Birth to 2 Years, 11 Months (35 Months)
Early intervention programs are such a wonderful resource and a great support to parents. They’re free for children from birth to 2 years, 11 months old, and every state has one. (Although the way they’re run can vary from state to state.)
It’s important to note that unfortunately, early intervention programs are often underfunded, so you might not be able to access speech therapy as soon—or as often—as you expect or need to. (In other words, depending on where you live, you may see long wait times or less-than-ideal frequencies of therapy sessions.) You can locate early intervention services in your state by visiting the CDC website.
Related: The Importance of Early Intervention
Price Range: Free
Age Range: 3+
If your child is three years of age or older and has been deemed eligible to receive speech/language therapy through the public school system, Preschool Speech Therapy services will be provided to them at no cost to you.
It’s important to note, however, that like with early intervention programs, sometimes parents feel like the preschool services their children receive aren’t quite enough. As a result, some families decide to supplement these services with additional private therapy. If budget allows, you might choose to go this route, too!
Price Range: $$ – $$$
Age Range: All Ages
‘Outpatient Clinics’ can refer to hospitals, community clinics, large organizations or small organizations. They’re all different!
Typically, outpatient clinics will accept insurance. When this is the case, you’ll either pay a copay or, if you have a high deductible plan, you’ll pay the full amount until you meet your deductible. If you’re not using insurance at an outpatient clinic, you can inquire about out-of-pocket rates, which are typically cheaper, and/or payment plans.
Note: This isn’t always the case, but some outpatient clinics at hospitals bill at a higher rate than other local outpatient clinics. This might be important to factor in if you’re not going through your insurance.
Price Range: $$ – $$$
Age Range: All Ages
Private practice rates vary quite a bit, so we recommend calling a few reputable practices to ask their rates. Many will have price points that are quite high, but even if that’s the case, it’s worth considering that they tend to give you the benefits of shorter waitlists (if any), and the appointment frequency that works best for your child. Some even offer in-home services and other types of accommodations.
Related: What To Expect in Toddler Speech Therapy
It’s important to know that not all private practices accept insurance. Quite a few are private pay. That said, if you’re paying out of pocket, you can ask your speech therapist if they can give you a SuperBill, which contains all the data and information insurers typically need to create claims and has a better chance of being accepted by insurance companies. If your therapist can provide one, try to submit it! Sometimes the insurer will reimburse you a portion of the session fees. It’s worth a try!
Price Range: $ – $$
Age Range: All Ages
If finances are a bit tight and your child isn’t eligible for any of the free options in your community, contact your local colleges and universities! Several post-secondary institutions offer speech-language therapy at a lower cost, because it is conducted by graduate students who are pursuing master degrees as speech-language pathologists.
And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your child will be receiving lower quality therapy! All graduate students are supervised by licensed speech therapists, which means they’re getting the eyes of 2 professionals on their case, instead of one—making it a really great option!
It’s no secret that speech therapy can be expensive. It involves treatment by a clinical specialist who is licensed and certified in a specific area of development. When you consider other factors such as the issue or disorder being treated, the frequency of sessions, and the location of therapy, the cost can add up.
Managing the cost of speech therapy can feel stressful. But if you’re looking to begin therapy, for either a child or an adult, you should know that options are available. You can pay for speech therapy yourself, or your health insurance might cover some of the costs. Each has its own set of pros and cons. Young children may be able to receive free or low-cost therapy through your state’s early intervention program, as well.
In this article, we’ll walk through all the options to help you make an informed decision.
Average cost of speech therapy
How much does speech therapy cost without insurance? On average, speech therapy costs around $100 to $250 per session for children and adults. That’s the full price, without insurance covering any part of it. Every speech therapy company or provider will likely have some variation in their prices, but this is a good ballpark.
Factors that affect the cost of speech therapy
Several factors can affect your final cost per speech therapy session. Let’s look at a few of them:
Where you live. Just like any service, speech therapy prices can differ from state to state and city to city, since the cost of living varies depending on where you live.
Location where services are delivered. There are several types of settings where speech therapy sessions can take place:
At home, with the speech therapist visiting you
In a clinic
If you receive speech therapy at home, the price may be higher since it includes travel fees for the speech therapist. On the flip side, with online speech therapy, the cost may be more affordable, since the company doesn’t have to cover therapists’ travel costs–or even rent and overhead for a building.
Speech therapy through public school is a free service offered to some children. More details on this option are below.
If you use insurance. Insurance can lower the cost for ongoing speech therapy sessions. If you have health insurance and it covers the type of setting and speech therapy provider you need, this is a great option! However, there are some things to keep in mind around using insurance. Keep reading to learn more.
Insurance vs. private pay for speech therapy
When it comes to paying for speech therapy, some people may not have much of a choice between using their insurance or paying out of pocket. Speech therapy can be expensive, and if insurance is available, it certainly helps reduce those costs.
However, some people can consider the two options. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of insurance and private pay.
Paying for speech therapy with insurance: The pros
The greatest benefit to using health insurance is that it saves you money. However, every health plan will vary in terms of how much of the cost is covered, how long speech therapy is covered, and which providers are in-network with the insurance company.
Even so, for many people, the amount of money saved is worth it. If you are attending speech therapy once or twice a week, the cost can add up.
Paying for speech therapy with insurance: The cons
There are a few frustrations that come along with using insurance. One is that your health insurance plan may deny services. If the insurance company does not agree that the person has a medical necessity for speech therapy, they may deny coverage.
Your health plan may also decide how long you can receive speech therapy. For example, they might cover only three months of therapy sessions, when a speech therapist recommends six months to a year. Your speech therapist can always try explaining the situation to the insurance company, and your plan may then increase the amount of time covered. But this can be a complicated process for everyone involved–especially you!
Certain speech therapy providers and clinics are “in-network” with different insurance companies. This means the insurance company covers treatment with those specific providers. If your insurance covers speech therapy, you likely have some qualified providers to choose from. But if you’ve researched a certain speech therapy provider and would like to work with them, it can be frustrating to find out that they’re not covered by your insurance.
Private pay for speech therapy: The pros
One of the biggest pros to private pay for speech therapy–which means paying for the entire cost yourself–is the freedom that comes with it. As mentioned above, insurance companies must decide that treatment is medically necessary in order to reimburse you for the cost. There are many areas of speech therapy that may not qualify under the definition of “medical necessity.” Perhaps a child needs to work on phonological skills that are related to academic success. Or maybe an adult wants to improve their professional speaking skills to help advance their career.
If you don’t use insurance to cover speech therapy, your treatment is between you and your speech therapist. You don’t have to wait for insurance to approve therapy, try to make sense of bills, or fight denials of coverage.
Private pay for speech therapy: The cons
The biggest downside to private pay is the cost. Again, the cost of private speech therapy is around $100 to $250 per session. When you pay entirely out of pocket, there isn’t a third party helping you pay the bills.
People who choose private pay can look into using their HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account) to help cover costs, if they have one available. This can help offset some of the expense.
Other affordable speech therapy options for children
Parents and caregivers of children who need speech therapy may want to look into state-funded resources. Here’s what’s available for different ages.
Birth to age 2: Early intervention is an option for children from birth to age 2 years, 11 months. This publicly funded program provides services for free or at reduced cost for any child who is eligible, in every state and territory.Early intervention typically involves a speech therapist coming to your house for speech therapy. Keep in mind that it may not allow for as frequent of visits as a family would like. You also may not get to choose your speech therapist, or see the same one consistently. But the low or no-cost aspect makes this a favorable choice for many families.You can learn more about early intervention and look up programs near you here.
Age 3 years and older: For preschool-age children, you may be able to receive speech therapy services through your public school for free. Call the elementary school you are zoned for to ask staff about these services and who to contact to learn more.
School-age children: Once children are school age, they are able to receive speech therapy at their public school if they meet the qualifications. Talk with school administrators and teachers at the beginning of the school year if you would like your child tested for speech therapy.
Many parents and caregivers want their child to receive supplemental speech therapy in addition to early intervention or school-based programs. State-funded, school-based speech therapists see many patients and have large caseloads. It can be challenging for them to give each child the necessary therapy time and personalized attention.But of course, some speech therapy is certainly better than none. Caregivers are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities!
Other options for affordable speech therapy
There are additional low-cost alternatives to public and private therapy. One example is local colleges that have speech and hearing departments or offer speech therapy programs. You can receive a diagnosis and treatment from a student studying speech-language pathology, all under the supervision of a licensed therapist. While this can be a much more affordable option, one potential downside is that your child may work with a roster of rotating students as they trade shifts and graduate.
Whether you’re looking into services for an adult or a child, the financial aspects of speech therapy can take some planning ahead. It’s important to remember how worthwhile speech therapy is. All of us deserve the ability to communicate clearly and confidently.
There’s never a better time to start speech therapy than right now. Think of all the progress you or your loved one could begin making. The time and energy you put into determining your best option will serve you well.