Note: The procedures and requirements for applying for and receiving physical therapy may vary between countries. This information describes the current situation in Germany.
Physical therapy is often part of a treatment plan at a hospital. It is then done in the hospital. To have outpatient treatment at a physical therapy practice, you need a prescription from a doctor. An initial prescription will generally include 6 treatments, each typically lasting 15 to 20 minutes. People have about one to three appointments per week, depending on what the doctor prescribes. The treatment has to start no longer than 14 days after the doctor wrote the prescription, otherwise the prescription won’t be valid after that. Unless there’s a good reason, the time between treatment sessions shouldn't be longer than 14 days. Breaks up to 28 days long have to be justified. If the break is even longer, the remaining treatment sessions will be canceled.
Unless you are exempt from copayments, you have to pay 10 euros per prescription plus 10% of the treatment costs yourself. The cost of different treatments varies. If, for instance, one treatment costs 20 euros, you will have to pay 22 euros for six treatments (the basic fee of 10 euros per prescription, plus 6 x 2 euros).
If the treatment is needed because of a work-related accident, it will be covered by the accident insurance and you won’t have to pay any copayment fees. But only if the treatment starts within 7 days.
For the medical conditions listed above, the costs of prescribed physical therapy (apart from the above-mentioned copayment fees) are often covered by statutory health insurers. If physical therapy is needed as a part of rehabilitative care, your accident insurer or pension fund will cover the costs.