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Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture Treatments?

Medicare does not cover acupuncture. Although you won't find a provider of acupuncture that accepts Medicare, there are some other forms of therapy that are covered by the federal health insurance program. Find out how Medicare can help reduce the costs of some other treatment options, and learn how to get help paying for out-of-pocket Medicare costs.

What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an alternative medical practice used to treat a variety of non-life threatening conditions and ailments. Its therapeutic effectiveness varies from patient to patient. It is commonly used to help:

  • Manage pain
  • Relieve headaches
  • Lessen menstrual cramps
  • Ease lower back pain
  • Treat joint conditions
  • Soothe asthma
  • Control nausea related to chemotherapy or pregnancy

Since it doesn’t treat life-threatening illnesses, acupuncture is not covered by Medicare.1 Medicare does, however offer conditional coverage with cap limits for other forms of therapy, including:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

Learn more about what Medicare covers and how a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan can help.

Check with your provider and the Medicare.gov website periodically to see if conditions have changed in regards to Medicare acupuncture coverage. 

Medicare and Acupuncture Out-of-Pocket Costs

Seeing an acupuncturist while on Medicare may not be the most cost-effective solution if you are seeking treatment for aches and pains. Because acupuncture is not covered by Medicare, you will have to pay 100 percent of the costs out-of-pocket. It's important to note that if you instead seek physical therapy, Medicare may leave certain out-of-pocket expenses — like deductibles, coinsurance and copayments — for you to pay. A Medigap plan, also called Medicare Supplement Insurance, can help pay for some of these expenses.

Choose a Medigap plan to help protect your health and your finances. They are accepted by any provider who accepts Medicare.

Learn more about what is covered by Medicare Supplement Insurance, compare the basic benefits of each type of plan and find out for yourself if this type of insurance can help fit your unique treatment needs.

 

1https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/acupuncture-non-coverage.html

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