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Does Medicare Cover Naturopathic Medicine?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published March 30, 2021 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Alternative medicine, like naturopathic medicine, is not typically covered by Medicare.

One exception is chiropractic care, where Medicare Part B may cover medically necessary spinal manipulation.

A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan can help cover the out-of-pocket costs you may face if Medicare covers your services, such as deductibles and copays.

Medicare and Alternative Medicine

Naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy and other forms of alternative medicine are not covered by Original Medicare. However, there are other services that Original Medicare may cover.

For instance, Medical nutrition therapy is covered by Medicare Part B for people who have diabetes or kidney disease, or who have had a kidney transplant in the past 36 months. For Medicare to pay in full for this service, beneficiaries must have a referral from their doctor or qualified practitioner.

Additionally, although counseling is not covered by Medicare, you may be eligible for a similar service such as depression screenings and alcohol misuse therapy.

As a general rule of thumb, those interested in naturopathic medicine should check and see if a particular service is covered by Medicare or if there is a similar option available.

Understanding Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine and treatments include preventive measures and holistic efforts geared at self-healing. According to The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, common practices may include, but aren't limited to:1

  • Diagnostic testing (both clinical and laboratory)
  • Nutritional and botanical medicine
  • Physical medicine
  • Hygiene homeopathy
  • Counseling
  • Therapy (both intravenous and injection)
  • Acupuncture

Medicare covers a wide range of health care needs and may cover some naturopathic medicine or similar treatments.

 

Medicare Supplement Insurance can help cover your out-of-pocket Medicare costs.

Find a plan Or call to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

1 American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Definition of Naturopathic Medicine. Retrieved Oct. 2019, from www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=59.


Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for MedicareSupplement.com. He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.

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