Often times, in the weeks following an injury or when the pain becomes too much to deal with, patients will seek the support of a chiropractor, or acupuncture specialist. Both acupuncture and chiropractic care can treat moderate to high-level pain and discomfort.
However, one concern that always comes to mind is out-of-pocket expenses, which can definitely add up. So naturally, this has Medicare beneficiaries wondering just how much of these treatment costs with their Medicare plan.
Medicare Coverage for Acupuncture & Chiropractic Services
Both of these methods of treatment can relieve pain or discomfort. Before looking into the cost difference between the two, you may consider what each form of treatment entails.
It is best to look further into both before deciding on the best option for you.
Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture
A rule of thumb is Medicare will cover anything that’s considered medically necessary. At this time, acupuncture specifically is being proposed for coverage through Medicare; in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic medicare will collect data on patients with severe back pain using acupuncture for treatment.
Unlike chiropractic care, acupuncture is not as much of a hands-on method for reducing pain. Acupuncture is done by inserting needles into the surface of the skin.
This is a practice that will stimulate certain parts of the body to alleviate pain, and can also help to treat several other medical health conditions.
In fact, several acupuncture patients have reported that this treatment has helped cure their depression, anxiety, and several other mental and physical issues.
Again, like chiropractic care, acupuncture does come with some low risks. Acupuncture risks can include bleeding or bruising from the needles, infection, and in some cases can stimulate labor for pregnant women.
Hopefully, in the near future, Medicare will cover acupuncture. Good news is, Medicare does cover chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care is a very hands-on process. For chiropractic treatments, the physician uses his or her hands to adjust the patients’ muscles and joints.
This is done to generate better movement to tight muscles and gain better usage of affected joints.
Neck pain, back pain, headaches, or anything that may cause a disruption in the nervous system, are usually a common reason patients seek chiropractic care.
Patients who receive this form of treatment typically feel results immediately after leaving the appointment.
However, chiropractic care does come with a few possible risks. Amongst them, are risks of having a stroke or unintentionally adding pressure to the injury.
The risk is low with certified practitioners, but with the constant shifting of muscles and joints, you could possibly end up being more susceptible to injury.
Medicare Coverage for Chiropractic Care
Yes, Medicare covers chiropractic services, if they are medically necessary. Luckily, Medicare currently has no cap on how many times you can see a physician for necessary chiropractic appointments.
Medicare Part B only covers manual manipulation of the spine if medically necessary to correct a subluxation when provided by a chiropractor. If you have the Original Medicare and don’t have any other additional insurance, you’re responsible for paying your Part B deductible. As well as a 20% coinsurance for your appointments.
There may be a requirement to pay for any additional tests by your chiropractic physician. This can include, x-rays, any extra physical or massage therapy, and even, coincidentally, acupuncture. The specific amount of money owed will depend on several factors, including:
- Any other insurance you have.
- The facility that you seek care from.
- How much your individual doctor charges.
- Where you get your tests and services.
Do not go into this treatment with no knowledge of the average estimate of payment. Talk to your doctor, and get all of your answers before committing to a certain recommendation they’ve made.
If you should decide to seek the help of a professional acupuncturist, it’s important to understand prices for the entire process. Patients typically get the initial visit cost and forget any additional costs for follow up appointments or extra care.
Find out how many appointments you’ll need to attend. If there are any additional costs, and how often you’ll need to attend follow-up visits.
Acupuncture and Chiropractic Coverage with Medigap
If you combine your Medicare and Medigap plans, any medically necessary chiropractic work will have coverage, at no cost to you.
Does Medicare Advantage Cover Chiropractic and Acupuncture
When it comes to Medicare Advantage plans, we hit a bit of a grey area with coverage for chiropractic care or acupuncture treatment. Each Medicare Advantage plan is different from the next. So one plan may offer high fees and fewer benefits, while another offers low fees and more benefits.
At this point, it may be tough finding a Medicare Advantage provider that covers acupuncture. It may be worth looking into though if it is something you truly feel is a priority for your health.
The same answer goes for chiropractic services. Although it is usually much easier to come across, the prices and plans will vary.
At MedicareFAQ, we acknowledge that finding the right plan for you, with everything you are looking for, can be worrisome. But we are always here to help you find the best coverage for your medical needs.
If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact us today. To compare rates online now, click here.