Coverage

Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture Treatments?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published December 16, 2020 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Although Medicare doesn't typically cover acupuncture treatments, there are some other forms of therapy that are covered by the federal health insurance program.

If you receive other forms of therapy that are covered by Medicare, a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan can help pay for some of the out-of-pocket costs you may face such as deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.

A man closes his eyes and gets acupuncture treatment on his foreheadMedicare doesn't cover acupuncture but can cover other forms of therapy.

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.

Acupuncture 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

What Therapy Does Medicare Cover?

While Medicare doesn't cover acupuncture, it may cover other forms of therapy, including:

  • Physical Therapy

  • Occupational Therapy

  • Speech Therapy

If you receive any of the above types of therapy that are covered by Medicare, you will typically face out-of-pocket costs for your care. A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan can help cover some of these costs.

For example, each of the 10 standardized Medigap plans that are available in most states cover the Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments you might face when you receive covered outpatient therapy services.

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.

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

Learn more about Medicare coverage of common procedures

Find Medicare Supplement Plans in Your Area

A licensed insurance agent can help you compare Medigap plans that are available where you live. Call today to speak with a licensed agent and find a Medigap plan that can help pay for your out-of-pocket Medicare costs.

 

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Or call 1-800-995-4219 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

 

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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