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Published: May 8, 2024

How Much Is Speech Therapy for Toddlers

Wondering "how much is speech therapy for toddlers"? You're not alone. Speech therapy can be a valuable tool in helping your little one develop strong communication skills. But let's face it, therapy costs can be a major concern. Here's the good news: there are often more affordable options available than you might realize!

According to a recent report, private speech therapy sessions typically range from $100 to $250 per hour in the United States. While this price tag can feel daunting, it's important to remember the long-term benefits speech therapy can offer. Early intervention can significantly improve a child's speech and language development, leading to increased confidence and social interaction.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the different ways to access speech therapy for toddlers, from free and low-cost programs to insurance coverage and university options. We'll also explore helpful tips for managing the cost of therapy and ensure your child receives the support they need to thrive.

How much is speech therapy for toddlers?

The cost of speech therapy for toddlers can vary depending on factors such as programs and insurance coverage available. Typically, an evaluation may range from $250 to $700, with ongoing sessions costing between $100 and $250 per hour. In general, a speech-language evaluation can cost between $150 and $400, while a half-hour therapy session may be priced from $65 to $175. The total expense can be influenced by location and the expertise of the therapist. The duration of treatment is individualized based on progress and response to therapy.

Why Are Speech Therapy Evaluations More Expensive?

Just like any first visit to a doctor, a speech therapy evaluation is more involved than a regular therapy session. During this initial assessment, the speech-language pathologist (SLP) will spend extra time getting to know your child. This may involve observations during play, asking questions about your child's development, and conducting specific tests to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. This comprehensive evaluation allows the SLP to create a personalized treatment plan for your child's unique needs. Because of the extra time and detailed analysis involved, the evaluation typically costs more than a standard therapy session.

3 Options of a Speech therapy costs - ranked from least expensive to most expensive

  • Public Programs - Free (or low cost)
  • Insurance - $35 Copay per session (varies by plan)
  • Self Pay - $150 per session (varies by provider)

Public Speech Therapy (mostly free)

When seeking speech therapy for your child, you have options to access services at no cost through the government's Early Intervention Program or the Public School System. The government covers the expense of speech and language evaluations, and if your child qualifies for therapy, services are typically covered by insurance. Any services not covered will be provided by regional centers or local education agencies. Early intervention costs are first billed to insurance, with the state program covering any remaining expenses for eligible children. This ensures access to necessary therapy without financial burden.

Speech Therapy Cost With Insurance (like Blue Shield, BCBC, TriCare Prime, Cigna, etc.)

When utilizing private insurance, your child may be eligible for speech therapy coverage, regardless of age. Typically, insurance plans require a copay at each session. To access this benefit, start by obtaining a referral from your child's primary care physician for a speech and language evaluation. If therapy is recommended, the speech therapist will request a referral for speech therapy sessions. Once approved by your insurance company, you can schedule your first appointment. This process ensures your child receives the necessary therapy while managing costs effectively.

Self Pay Speech Therapy Cost

When considering self pay speech therapy, there are several reasons why individuals may choose this option. Some private practice speech therapists do not accept insurance, making self payment the sole option to work with them. Additionally, reaching your insurance plan's therapy limit for the year or seeking a therapist outside of your insurance network can lead to self pay. Costs typically range from $100-$250 per session, with initial evaluations costing between $250-$700. Prior to commencing therapy, it's essential to budget for these expenses.

If we use our calculation for the cost of speech therapy, this is what it may cost for self pay speech therapy for your little one: 

$100/ session —>   (2 x $100) x 4.3 = $860 for 1 month of speech therapy 

$250/ session —> (2 x $250) x 4.3 = $2,150 for 1 month of speech therapy

Top #8 Factors That Impact The Cost of Speech Therapy

1. Insurance Coverage

When it comes to the cost of your child's speech therapy, insurance coverage plays a crucial role. The amount you pay can vary depending on the medical diagnosis provided by a doctor or specialist, and the treatment diagnosis given by the speech therapist. For instance, while a diagnosis of Autism may be covered, a diagnosis of “expressive language delay” might not be. It's essential to carefully review your insurance policy to understand what speech therapy services are included. By knowing the specifics of your coverage, you can make informed decisions regarding your child's therapy needs.

2. Frequency

When it comes to the cost of speech therapy for your child, the frequency and duration of their sessions play a key role. The more therapy sessions your child attends, and the longer each session lasts, the higher the overall cost will be. However, it's important to note that these factors are often influenced by your child's specific diagnosis, meaning that the frequency and duration of therapy may be non-negotiable.

3. Location

The cost of speech therapy varies based on location, influenced by factors like local living expenses and available programs.

4. Age

The age of your child can influence speech therapy costs, with programs like early intervention (for birth-three) often provided at no expense for younger children.

5. The severity of your condition

Your condition's severity influences speech therapy costs. More severe cases may require additional sessions or intensive treatment. Understanding this aspect is crucial for effective therapy planning.

6. The setting in which services are provided

The location where therapy services are offered can influence the cost significantly. Private practices or clinics tend to be pricier due to higher overhead costs. Teletherapy, conducted through video conferencing, is a cost-effective alternative to in-person therapy. Consider the setting when evaluating speech therapy expenses.

7. The qualifications of your speech-language pathologist

The credentials of your speech-language pathologist (SLP) play a role in cost; therapy from a licensed SLP tends to be pricier than that from a certified speech-language assistant (SLPA), impacting overall expenses.

8. Estimated length of time and frequency of therapy

The duration and frequency of therapy sessions influence costs; more frequent or intensive treatment over a longer period will incur higher expenses.

Top #5 Speech Therapy Options for Toddlers in the United States

In the United States, speech therapy for toddlers can be costly, but there are avenues to explore. Unlike Canada where public funding covers the expenses, families in the US may need to seek private therapy. While insurance coverage varies, it's essential to research options to make therapy more affordable and accessible for your child. Learn more about speech therapy options for toddlers in the US.

1. Early Intervention

Price Range: Free

Age Range: Birth to 2 Years, 11 Months (35 Months)

Early intervention programs offer vital support, catering to children from birth to 2 years, 11 months, at no cost nationwide, albeit with variations in operation across states. However, due to limited funding, accessing timely and frequent speech therapy may pose challenges, emphasizing the importance of understanding local resources.

2. Preschool Services

Price Range: Free

Age Range: 3+

If your child aged three or older qualifies for speech/language therapy through the public school system, they will receive Preschool Speech Therapy at no charge. While these services are beneficial, some parents opt for additional private therapy if they feel it's necessary. Consider supplementing these services if your budget allows for it!

3. Outpatient Clinics

Price Range: $$ - $$$

Age Range: All Ages

Outpatient clinics come in various forms, such as hospitals, community clinics, and organizations. They usually accept insurance, where you may have a copay or cover the full cost until meeting your deductible. If not using insurance, ask about out-of-pocket rates or payment plans for affordable options. Seek transparency and clarity regarding costs for a seamless experience.

4. Private Practice

Price Range: $$ - $$$

Age Range: All Age

Private practice rates can vary widely, so we recommend reaching out to a few reputable practices to inquire about their pricing. While some may have higher rates, they often provide benefits like shorter wait times and tailored appointment schedules. Keep in mind that not all private practices accept insurance, so if you're paying out of pocket, ask your speech therapist about getting a SuperBill to potentially seek reimbursement from your insurer. Consider exploring this option to offset session costs.

5. University Options

Price Range: $ - $$

Age Range: All Ages

If you're facing financial constraints and your child doesn't qualify for free services in your area, consider reaching out to local colleges and universities. Many of these institutions provide speech-language therapy at reduced rates through their graduate student programs. Your child will receive high-quality care as these students are supervised by licensed speech therapists. This collaborative approach ensures excellent attention to your child's needs.

What are the #3 Different Ways of Paying for Speech Therapy

1. Private pay for speech therapy

The cost of speech therapy when paid out-of-pocket can fluctuate based on the therapy type and therapist's pricing structure. Fees may be session-based or hourly. Find the right therapist for your needs.

  • Pros of Private pay for speech therapy

Pros of Private Pay for Speech Therapy: When choosing to pay for speech therapy out-of-pocket, you gain the freedom to pursue therapy that may not meet insurance criteria but is still crucial for personal or academic growth. By bypassing insurance hurdles, you can focus solely on your therapy journey without delays or coverage disputes. Embrace the personalized approach of private pay for maximum progress.

  • Cons of Private pay for speech therapy

While offering autonomy, private pay for speech therapy can be costly, ranging from $100 to $250 per session. Without third-party assistance, individuals may find it financially burdensome. However, exploring options like HSAs or FSAs can help alleviate some of the financial strain for those who qualify.

2. Paying for speech therapy with insurance

It's important to check if your private health insurance covers speech therapy, as some policies may only do so if medically necessary. Verify coverage with your insurance company for clarity.

3. Medicare

Medicare may provide coverage for speech therapy for seniors if deemed medically necessary, with limits on payment. Ensure eligibility and explore benefits for quality care.

What Services Should be Included in Speech Therapy Services?

  1. Assessment
  2. Treatment
  3. Home Program

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NOTICE: This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for a patient/physician relationship.

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