Medicare does cover some acupuncture or chiropractic treatments. But, Acupuncture is only covered if it treats chronic lower back pain. Further, Medicare only covers chiropractic manipulations to correct a misaligned spine. Medicare won’t pay for other types of chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. But, some Advantage plans offer extra benefits beyond Medicare. Below you’ll learn which services qualify for coverage and when you’ll pay the bill.
Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture?
Historically, Medicare doesn’t cover acupuncture. In January 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced they would include acupuncture for chronic low back pain. The decision is part of an effort to support alternative pain therapies and reduce dependence on opioid painkillers.CMS says there were a small number of studies on acupuncture for lower back pain in people over 65. But the patients saw improvement in both pain and function.
Medicare covers acupuncture for the pain that affects your lower back and is chronic.
“Chronic,” lower back pain must meet these criteria:
- The pain has lasted at least 12 weeks
- Pain doesn’t have an identifiable cause such as cancer or a disease
- Isn’t related to surgery or pregnancy
What Acupuncture Treatments are Not Covered by Medicare?
The new Medicare rule applies to acupuncture for chronic lower back pain. There’s no Medicare coverage for acupuncture to treat neck pain, headaches, stress, or relief from chemo. Medicare does NOT cover acupuncture to treat pain in other parts of the body. Also, Medicare doesn’t pay for acupuncture to treat temporary acute pain, such as pain from a recent injury.
How Long Will Medicare Cover Acupuncture?
Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?
What Chiropractic Treatments are Not Covered by Medicare?
Medicare doesn’t cover a visit to the chiropractor for other reasons. If you see a chiropractor for spine manipulation, you should be aware that Medicare won’t pay for it. For example, Medicare won’t cover x-rays a chiropractor’s orders. But, Medicare will cover the actual chiropractic treatment as long as you show improvement.
How Many Chiropractic Visits Does Medicare Allow?
Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Acupuncture or Chiropractic Care?
Do Medicare Supplements Cover Acupuncture or Chiropractic Care?
Medicare Supplement plans cover the same services and procedures as Medicare. Medigap doesn’t include extra services beyond Medicare. But, a Medicare Supplement may pick up your part of the coinsurance for acupuncture for chronic lower back pain. When Medicare approves a service, Medigap pays. The same goes for Chiropractic care; if Medicare covers a Chiropractic service, Medigap will pay its portion.
Tip: When your insurance doesn’t cover Chiropractic or Acupuncture services, ask local doctors about cash prices.
How to Get Medicare Coverage for Acupuncture or Chiropractic Care?
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