I just saw this article on a website called Nerd Wallet on how much acupuncture costs around the U.S. The information is calculated on data from a website called okcopay and is based on what patients are paying out of pocket. They are saying that the median cost of an acupuncture session in this country is $100.
My first thought? I’m not charging enough. However, I did a little digging, and actually found this article to be a little misleading. Here are a few things that weren’t quite clear:
The article quoted the median price for acupuncture, which can be confusing. Using some middle school math here, the median is a number that you come up with when you line up all the prices that are being charged and pick the value that is in the middle–essentially half of the prices are above and half are below.
When we talk about what something costs, we are usually looking at the average price, which is a value you come up with when you add up all the prices charged and divide by the number of prices that you added up.
So the upshot here is that this article is quoting the range of what people may be charging and picking a number in the middle as opposed to the going rate–the average cost of an acupuncture session.
The author’s explanation? “The median is a better snapshot of a middle ground than the average, which can be skewed by very expensive or inexpensive providers.” This is fine, but when I look at the prices in my area, the median doesn’t quite square with the average–or with what practitioners in my area are charging.
The author broke down the numbers by cities, and in my city of Minneapolis, the article quoted a median rate of $90, which sounds a little high. When I went to the okcopay.com website, I found that the average for an initial appointment in my area was $80 and the average for a follow up visit was $65–neither very close to the $90 median. So…WTF?
Now, the article wasn’t clear whether the quoted $90 median for a session in my area was for an initial appointment or a follow up, but either way, it was higher than what I found for either on the website.
The going rate of $100 nationally was also skewed upward, because the cost of community acupuncture was not included in this survey. The author explained that this was the case and that she was reporting based on private acupuncture sessions. This is fine, but in the marketplace, community acupuncture is a player because it tends to keep the cost of private acupuncture a little lower in general.
So weigh in here…are the numbers in this article accurate for your city?