Health insurance in Canada covers some or all of the cost of speech therapy sessions. Speech therapy helps people improve their quality of life, self-esteem, and ability to lead productive lives. Speech therapy sessions can be an essential part of treatment for children and adults of any age who have:
- Difficulty articulating words
- Weak or underdeveloped mouth and jaw muscles
- Hearing loss or impairment
- Cognitive impairment
Speech difficulties arise from a variety of causes. Consequently, speech therapy is not a single course of treatment. People who need speech therapy and their loved ones often deal with visits to different doctors and sometimes an arduous course of speech therapy sessions.
Take a moment to learn about the range of speech therapies in Canada. Consider how the government of Canada, the individual, and supplementary health insurance contribute to bearing the cost of speech therapy sessions.
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What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is a type of therapy that helps patients recover from a particular speech disorder. A Speech-Language Pathologist (S-LP) typically carries out speech therapy through one-on-one instruction, group therapy sessions, or a combination of different types of therapy.
According to the Job Bank of Canada, a speech pathologist possesses a master’s degree in speech pathology and is typically a member of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Many speech therapists offer telehealth sessions. However, because speech therapy often involves much specific physical work, therapists need to work in person with patients for some types of speech therapy. In-person treatment requires patients to pay for travel and transportation costs.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Speech Therapy
Type of Speech Therapy
Patients can save money on speech therapy by choosing sessions that require less time and resources from the S-LP. Group sessions cost less than one-on-one sessions, and telehealth sessions cost less than in-person treatment. Half-hour sessions can be a cost-saving option for patients requiring less therapy.
The Type of Therapy
Although speech pathologists often charge a set rate for their services, some forms of therapy and treatment require more time and resources than others. For example, the initial evaluation for a child to test for speech and language problems could cost more than a standard therapy session.
The Location of the Patient
Insurance companies and professional organizations issue recommendations regarding the hourly rate for speech pathologist service, but no one standard applies across Canada.
Some Canadian provinces have higher costs than others. For a comprehensive list of speech therapy costs by province, consult this article on speech therapy by Insurdinary.
Ontario, for example, has large metropolitan centers with higher costs of living. Patients can expect to pay over $150 per hour for speech therapy. Other provinces have prices ranging from $100 to $150 per hour. Clinics in Prince Edward Island tend to be less expensive, offering services in the low end of that price range.
Type of Therapy Provider
Private clinics are the primary source of speech pathology services and speech therapy. They set their prices based on many factors, including recommendations from professional organizations such as the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Travel and Transportation Costs
If the patient lives in a major city or large suburb, they might be able to find a speech therapy clinic within commuting distance. Patients in remote locations might have to drive for hours to get to the nearest S-LP and might have limited options in their area. In extreme cases, patients might need to relocate to get the specialized treatment they need.
Other Medical Conditions
Speech disorders do not always occur in isolation. Patients and their caregivers must consider the costs of addressing other needs concurrently with speech therapy.
A patient in recovery from a stroke might have limited mobility. They might need a wheelchair van to transport them to the clinic for treatment.
Patients with cognitive impairment might not be able to reach the clinic without help. The need for somebody to accompany the patient results in lost wages for the caregiver or the additional costs of a health care aide.
Coverage for the Costs of Speech Therapy Sessions
Government health insurance does not cover speech therapy in Canada. However, supplemental health insurance plans cover some speech therapy costs and other related medical expenses.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations offer assistance to children and others in need of speech therapy. Speech therapy providers, such as Speech Therapy Works in Ontario, provide resource guides for patients. The Ontario Autism Program offers coverage for eligible children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder.
Many clinics offer discounts and financing options. Patients should take time to understand the details of any financing agreement they make with a lender or private speech therapy clinic.
If a child needs speech therapy, your public school might be able to provide speech therapy, occupational therapy, and assistive technology to help your child overcome difficulties and keep pace with other students.
Tax Implications for Workers
An individual who suffers significant impairment that lasts for more than a year might be eligible for a non-refundable disability tax credit. This tax break could help pay the cost of speech therapy sessions and other services. Consult your tax preparer or the Government of Canada website for forms, eligibility requirements, and help with filing.
The Costs of Limiting Access to Speech Therapy
If the cost of speech therapy sessions seems steep, consider the long-term costs to employees, businesses, and the general public if people go without speech therapy due to a lack of health coverage.
- Children fall behind in school and fail to reach their academic potential
- Workers with injuries, hearing impairment, or other conditions might be on disability and unable to work for extended periods
- Lack of confidence, social isolation, bullying, and workplace conflicts create a hostile work environment and increase the risk of workplace violence
- Older adults with speech difficulties might require long-term care if they cannot live alone
While employers do not bear all these costs directly, they reduce worker productivity and provoke resentment and low morale if workers and their families deal with them without help. Confident employees with thriving children, independent parents, and hope for the future reward employers with loyalty and dedication.
Group Coverage for Employees Who Need Speech Therapy
Employees who need speech therapy services for themselves and their families might already feel a stigma associated with speech difficulties and feel self-conscious about asking their employer for help.
Providing comprehensive health coverage for employees allows employees to find the health care they need through a streamlined process. If employees know the extent of their coverage beforehand, they avoid delays and confusion that disrupt workflow and reduce morale.
Group benefits do not have to be one-size-fits-all. You can work with your insurance provider to structure plans which empower employees to choose a plan that works best within the umbrella of the single group insurance policy.
Do you need different tiers of health coverage for employees at different positions (entry-level workers vs. middle management, for instance)? Group Enroll has the experience to set up more complex plans.
Once you work with Group Enroll to set up employee plans, raise awareness about the benefits. To maximize benefits, ask for a policy that includes coverage for the cost of speech therapy sessions in Canada and ancillary expenses such as travel fares.
Dr. Bosung Kim breaks down the cost of neglected eyecare in this article.
Group Enroll Provides Quotes for Speech Therapy Coverage
Group Enroll works with many of Canada’s most prominent insurance providers to provide quality insurance tailored to individual businesses. You can have as few as two employees in your business and be eligible for Group Enroll’s insurance brokerage services.
To obtain competitive rate quotes for health insurance and other types of insurance, submit the rate quote form on the website. We will contact you by phone with you for a five- to ten-minute consultation.
For more information, browse our website, email [email protected], or visit us in person at 10 Great Gulf Drive, Unit 5, Vaughan, ON, L4K 5W1. We hope to have the opportunity to talk with you about managing the cost of speech therapy sessions and other employee health expenses.