Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?

Back pain can stunt enjoying everyday life. Treating it shouldn’t stunt your wallet. 

Back pain is a widespread issue among seniors. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Chances of suffering from chronic back pain increase as you age and can be caused by:

  • Bad posture
  • Poor diet and smoking
  • Soft mattress
  • Sleeping in a reclining chair
  • Psychological stress
  • Diseases of the organs

Despite how common back pain is, treating back pain with proven methods like chiropractic care can be tricky. This article will cover how Medicare covers chiropractic care. Let’s get started.

Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?

All Medicare plans cover spinal subluxation, a condition that involves the misalignment of your spinal column. This condition causes back pain and is prevalent among people of all ages. Three causes of spinal subluxation are bad posture, repetitive motions, and traumatic events. People often experience low back pain, neck pain, and a reduced range of motion. 

However, Medicare is only guaranteed to cover certain services from your chiropractor, mainly spinal manipulation or spinal alignment. Spinal alignment is the most common type of health care provided by chiropractors, and it is achieved through manual manipulation of the spine. Medicare does not typically cover x-rays, massage therapy, or other related services. 

Other conditions and chiropractic services may be covered by Medicare, depending on your Medicare plan and any supplemental insurance you have. 

Medicare Part B and Chiropractic Coverage

Original Medicare Part B does cover some parts of chiropractic care, including spinal adjustment. X-rays can be covered if done through your primary care physician as part of preventative care. 

With Original Medicare, chiropractic treatment is covered up to 80 percent after your annual deductible is met. In 2020, your Part B deductible is $198.

As a final note, Original Medicare Part A does not offer any additional care, as Part A covers costs related to hospitalization.

Medicare Part C and Chiropractic Coverage

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you have Medicare Part C. A Medicare Advantage plan is serviced by a private health insurance company. Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything that Orginal Medicare includes. In addition to basic coverage, some plans may offer additional coverage for chiropractic care

Additional coverage can include coverage for chiropractic services, such as x-rays, but also other health conditions. You will need to find care from a qualified provider in your network. To understand what your plan covers, speak to your Medicare program provider. 

Medicare Supplement Plans and Chiropractic Coverage

Also known as Medigap, Medicare supplement insurance can cover some additional costs and services for chiropractic care. It is most likely that your Medigap plan will help you cover copayments or coinsurance costs. 

However, you should review your plan documents or call the number on your Medicare card to learn more about your specific coverage. 

Medicare Part D and Chiropractic Coverage

Should you need prescription drugs to treat spinal subluxation, you will need a prescription drug plan to help cover your costs. Medicare Part D is also serviced through a private health care provider. Bear in mind that chiropractors cannot prescribe medications; that will need to be done through your primary care physician.

FAQ: Medicare Coverage for Chiropractic Care

Does Medicare cover maintenance therapy?

Medicare does cover some of the costs for maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy helps treat chronic conditions by slowing or stopping progression. It does not often reverse chronic conditions.  It is more common for costs to be covered when billed by a physical therapist. Speak with your Medicare provider about your options. 

Does Medicare cover acupuncture?

In January 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Medicare would start covering up to 12 sessions of acupuncture care. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce back pain issues. Treatment can be extended by eight sessions, depending on your condition and your response to treatment. 

Is Medicare coverage expanding to cover more chiropractic services?

In 2018, H.R.7157 was introduced in the House of Representatives to expand Medicare coverage to all chiropractic services. Legislation may change in the near future to expand coverage, but as of July 2020, it has not expanded. 

Conclusion: Additional Coverage May Be What You Need

If it’s not easy to get the chiropractic care you need through Original Medicare, you can and should shop around. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer more extensive coverage beyond standard chiropractic manipulations. Additionally, a Medigap plan can help you cover expensive copays and coinsurance. 

The bottom line: don’t be afraid to shop around if your current Medicare plan doesn’t cover the care you need. 

 

Updated July 28, 2020

J.J. Starr is a financial copywriter and enjoys helping readers find the information they need. In addition to her background in banking and financial advising, she is also a poet with an MFA from New York University. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can learn more at jjstarrwrites.com.