If you are in a hospital
In a hospital, physiotherapy is covered as part of your stay. On discharge, some ongoing physiotherapy services may be provided by Alberta Health Services (AHS). For example, home care, hospital outpatient treatment - but eligibility depends upon your condition.
Payment for physiotherapy treatment outside a hospital varies depending on your situation. Always ask about fees and payment options when booking an appointment or inquiring about physiotherapy services.
If you are injured at work
For work-related injuries, the Workers’ Compensation Board Alberta (WCB) pays for an initial physiotherapy examination and the first treatment. A referral from your doctor is not necessary. Further physiotherapy treatment is only approved once your claim is accepted. If approved, the WCB may authorize physiotherapy treatment for up to six weeks. The length of the treatment time varies depending upon your injury. Check with the WCB to determine the physiotherapy treatment authorized for your claim. Find a WCB-approved physiotherapy clinic in your area.
If you are injured in a car accident
You are entitled to accident benefit coverage whether you were at fault or not. Benefits depend upon the type of injury. If you have a sprain, strain or whiplash injury, and have filled out a notice of claim, your physiotherapist can bill the insurer directly - there is no need for a doctor’s referral.
For other types of injury, submit expenses to your extended health benefits plan first. If you don’t have a plan, or coverage is exhausted or does not cover all expenses, submit expenses to your automobile insurer. For more information, see What to do after an Auto Collision on the Government of Alberta’s website.
Other injuries or problems
For all other problems, you have three payment options depending on your specific circumstances.
Alberta Health Services (AHS)
If you live in Calgary or Edmonton the physiotherapist must determine your eligibility for funding using criteria set out by AHS. It is not up to a doctor to determine your eligibility. Funding in other locations varies based on priority and resources. Always ask about AHS funding when booking an appointment. To find AHS-funded physiotherapy services in your area, visit Alberta Health Service’s website and search for “physiotherapy.”
Health benefit plans
Physiotherapy treatment is normally included within employer-paid or individually purchased health benefit plans. The amount of coverage and rules to access physiotherapy vary between plans. Check your plan for coverage details. Your plan will indicate if your insurance company requires you to get a referral from your doctor to have fees reimbursed.
Check with your employer or health care plan about specific coverage amounts and claims submission process for physiotherapy services.
If you are not eligible for coverage outlined above and don’t have coverage under a health benefits plan, you will need to pay for your treatment directly. Confirm fees when booking as fees vary.