Does Medicare cover chiropractic services? Keep reading to be sure.
Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to health that focuses on the alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal system. This natural form of healing can help to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and prevent future injuries.
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Chiropractic care is an increasingly popular treatment option for chronic and acute neck and back pain, thanks to promising emerging research indicating that it is effective.
However, Medicare coverage for chiropractic procedures is very limited, only extending to treatment for a condition called spinal subluxation.
Additionally, patients are required to obtain a diagnosis from an approved chiropractor before Medicare will payout for this service.
You may, however, find a Medicare Advantage plan that offers more benefits for chiropractic care.
Chiropractic Care Services
Chiropractic treatments focus on the relationship between your bones and muscles. By manipulating the spine and other joints, chiropractors can relieve pain and improve function.
Chiropractic care is a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Chiropractors have extensive training in anatomy and physiology, and they use this knowledge to treat patients with musculoskeletal problems.
Additionally, many chiropractors have expanded their practices to include additional healthcare services like acupuncture, nutritional advice, and fall prevention.
Although there is no hard data that indicates typical outcomes of chiropractic treatments, the research is ongoing.
There is, however, considerable research that indicates chiropractic care works well for the treatment of headache pain, lower back pain, and sciatica pain.
Which Part of Medicare Covers Chiropractors?
Medicare Part A
Since Medicare Part A is the part of Medicare that deals with expenses resulting from a hospital stay for treatment of injuries or illnesses. Since chiropractic services are performed in the doctor’s office, Medicare Part A will not cover expenses after seeing a chiropractor.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B covers a wide range of services that are considered medically necessary for your health and well-being. This includes preventive care, which is defined as treatments and check-ups that help you avoid developing serious illnesses.
Mental health services, flu shots, and well visits to your doctor are all examples of preventive care covered by Medicare Part B.
According to Medicare guidelines, Part B will cover the costs of spinal manipulation (alignment) as a medically approved treatment for spinal subluxation. The number of treatments covered may depend on how many treatments are required to correct the condition.
Chiropractic care can be expensive, but if you have Medicare Part B, you can get help with the costs. Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the cost of treatment after you’ve met your yearly deductible. However, it doesn’t cover the cost of diagnostic tests that your chiropractor might order, such as X-rays.
The House introduced a bill back in 2018 to expand the chiropractic services covered by Original Medicare Part B however, the bill has yet to come to the floor for a vote. Hopefully, our legislators will pass the bill and send it to the senate so Medicare beneficiaries who need chiropractic services can get some financial relief.
Part C – Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are offered and administered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. Many Medicare Advantage plans will cover chiropractic treatments however, the coverage varies from plan to plan.
To determine if a plan covers more chiropractic services, seniors should research the available plans in their area or speak with a Medicare Specialist before deciding to change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans
Medicare Supplement plans, also called “Medigap,” are extra insurance plans you can buy to help cover costs not covered by Original Medicare. This can include things like copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance.
Original Medicare does not cover the full cost of chiropractic treatments – you will still be responsible for 20% of the costs. However, if you have a Medicare supplement plan, that plan may cover the remaining costs.
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How Much Does Chiropractic Care Cost?
Although your cost of Chiropractic Care will depend on the chiropractor you see, the area you live in, and the services you need, most chiropractors charge $65 for a general adjustment.
Seniors who need regular adjustments are likely to be charged between $50 and $100 per session. Additional fees may also be charged for additional services like X-rays, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture.
If you’re considering seeing a chiropractor for the first time, know that many offer discounts on your initial visit. Some clinics also offer package deals which may be a better value, depending on your needs. For example, some combination packages may include adjustments to different areas of the body or different types of therapies. Be sure to ask about payment options, such as deposits or split payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
If the purpose for the adjustment is because of spinal subluxation, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the treatment(s).
If Medicare pays the 80% for spinal subluxation treatment, Medicare Supplement Plan F will cover the remaining 20%.
Yes, but only if your treatment is for a spinal subluxation and the chiropractor is approved by Medicare.
No. Medicare Part B does not cover the costs of x-rays or other services to determine if you are suffering from a spinal subluxation.
Spinal subluxation is the term used when one or more vertebrae become misaligned. When this happens, these misaligned vertebrae usually interfere with the function of your nervous system that the vertebrae are supposed to be protecting.
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