Massage Therapy in FL–the PIP bill passed

Billing PIP for massage therapy is almost over. The new bill is in effect, and we can’t bill auto insurance if the patient’s policy was renewed after July 1st this year.

If it’s an older policy, the patient is still covered for massage therapy and acupuncture, because the bill can’t revoke an existing contract.

Very soon, all policies will have been renewed, and Florida massage therapists will have a tough time in 2013 and beyond. Don’t think you won’t be affected if you’ve never billed insurance!

In the next three years, even more massage businesses will close.

Chiropractors and rehab clinics that specialize in PIP billing will let most of their massage therapists go. What they used to do was hire therapists right out of school who are happy to get any job, pay them $15-25 per hour, and bill $200. That’s not going to work any longer. Patients will have to pay out of pocket for massages, and we all know they don’t pay $200–especially not for treatments by inexperienced therapists.

If you’re a massage therapist in Florida, you will be affected. 

Even if you have never billed auto insurance because you didn’t want the hassle (and my office staff can relate), you will feel the pinch–because suddenly there will be more massage therapists out of a job, trying to get work anywhere, lowering their outcall rates.

You think we have had a crazy drop in pricing since 2008? It will get worse.

Here’s what you have to do:

1. check how much of your income comes from PIP billing. 

If it’s more than 50%, you should find a different job. Seriously.

2. focus on self-pay clients.

Make a list of your best self-paying clients. Think about ways to retain them when the war on price will start. Make scheduling easy, don’t ever reschedule, listen carefully to what they like about you, and get them to give you reviews. Don’t make these ten mistakes.

3. don’t lower your rates

You can’t win the war on price. There’s always somebody willing to give a massage for $20.

Go for quality instead. Be the best you can, specialize, find a niche.

Get an account on LinkedIn and join the “Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers” group. There’s LOADS of free business advice, and in the “promotions” section you’ll find blogs that explain how exactly you retain and reward your best clients.

I’m happy to see the “Auto Accident” oriented clinics go under.

I know my business will suffer. Not much, fortunately, since our membership program helps retain the clients who are happy to pay out of pocket.

What are your thoughts on the future of massage therapy in Florida? Scroll way down and leave a comment!

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7 thoughts on “Massage Therapy in FL–the PIP bill passed

  1. Yes, PIP is now gone for massage therapists. But I have yet to see any mention regarding massage services reimbursable (or no longer reimbursable) under the MedPay portion of an automobile policy (provider the driver bought MedPay). Any information available in this regard?


  2. Good you brought that up, Sean.

    It looks like med-pay is sometimes called the medical part of PIP. This site has some more information.

    Insurance that somebody chooses to pay for is a whole different thing. If there is something also (and confusingly) called MedPay that is separate from PIP, it’s not affected by the bill.
    Sometimes there are additions to the mandatory part, for example they’d cover 100% instead of the mandatory 80%. If this is just an extension of the mandatory PIP, it will no longer cover massage therapy.

  3. I totally agree with you there. Since being a physical or massage therapist is not an easy job after all. You’re actually going to get the negative energy of your patient that is why it always pay to get a good healthy lifestyle if you are a physical or massage therapist

  4. Pingback: More about the new PIP bill and its effect on massage therapists « lumuellerkaul

  5. thanks so much!!! I’m excited somebody reads this… of course I see how many people click on posts, but I still don’t know who is really interested in what I have to say.

    Now, about PIP billing: It’s a Florida-specific problem.
    There’s a law in place that requires drivers to have PIP-insurance (Personal Injury Policy) that was designed to cover emergency medical expenses.
    It pretty much reserves ten thousand dollars for doctors visits, hospital stay, but also side costs like lost wages–if somebody couldn’t work due to the accident.
    In the US, where a lot of people don’t have health insurance, this can make sure that somebody get’s their broken leg in a cast after an accident.

    The problem is that the law didn’t specify WHAT kind of medical expenses, so a whole industry developed around PIP-billing, just because it’s so easy.
    “Auto Accident” clinics popped up that don’t specialize in broken bones, but in soft tissue injuries.

    Patients didn’t need to see a medical doctor, a chiropractor was enough.

    So all these places would specialize in draining the ten thousand dollars as fast as they can send the bills.

    And Auto Insurance had to pay, by law.

    Now, that the law is changed, a lot of places will rightfully have to go out of business, but unfortunately it will also hurt a lot of good therapists.

  6. Pingback: I’m working on CEUs for Florida LMTs! « Lu Mueller-Kaul

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