Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic? – Overview
Medicare is one of the most popular federal health insurance programs. It is aimed at serving individuals over 65 years of age. Different parts of the program are focused on providing cover for various healthcare services and treatments. Chiropractic care has been found to be effective in treating several disorders, including spinal adjustment for the treatment of back pain.
A study by the American Chiropractic Association showed around 80% of individuals experience back pain at once or more during their lifetime. Chiropractic treatment is becoming increasingly popular to relieve musculoskeletal problems, such as back, joints and neck pain. There are numerous highly trained and qualified chiropractors who are also successful in treating cases of chronic headaches.
Medicare offers treatment coverage for several types of chiropractic services. If you too are suffering from chronic body pain or headache and wish to undergo chiropractic treatment, then you need to know whether your Medicare covers the cost of chiropractic services.
How does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Treatment?
Let’s take a detailed look at Medicare’s chiropractic coverage:
Medicare Part A
If you are covered with Medicare Part A, then you should know that it does not cover the cost of chiropractic treatment.
Medicare A is mainly aimed at covering the cost of hospital care. As chiropractic care is considered a healthcare service and is not an emergency procedure that is performed at a physician’s office, it is not covered under Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is meant to cover the cost of essential medical services, such as treatments that you require immediate and for preventive care. Although preventive care can be a vague term sometimes, Medicare offers coverage for mental health treatment services, flu shots and visits to your doctor for anything covered under preventive care.
If you are suffering from a spinal subluxation, Medicare Part B will not cover the cost of spinal alignment (manipulation). Additionally, the number of treatments required to remedy your condition will determine whether chiropractic care can be covered under Medicare Part B.
If eligible, Medicare Part B will pay around 80% of the total cost of chiropractic treatment, but after you’ve matched the deductible. Keep in mind that Medicare Part B will not cover the cost of diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, ordered by your chiropractor.
Besides this, the US House of Representatives introduced a bill that aims to include additional types of chiropractic treatments under Medicare Part B but the bill is yet to be approved.
Medicare Part C
Medicare Advantage (MA), another name for Medicare Part C, is offered by private health insurance providers. These insurance plans are approved by the federal government and may cover the cost of additional treatments which are not included in Medicare Part A and Part B. These plans become your primary health insurance.
Certain Medicare Part C plans offer to cover the cost of chiropractic treatments however every plan has individual and unique benefits. For instance, some Medicare Part C insurance plans may offer to cover the cost of spinal manipulation. It is highly advised to do your research and find out which particular Medicare Part C plan offers coverage for the cost of advanced chiropractic care.
Medicare Supplement Plans OR Medigap
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, also known as Medigap Plans, are available for purchase as supplements to Original Medicare. Deductibles and co-payments are covered under Medigap health insurance policies.
If your Original Medicare covers the cost of chiropractic treatments then you will need to pay only about 20% of the total treatment cost. However, if you also purchase Medicare Supplement Plan, then the complete cost of chiropractic care is covered under it.
Which is the Best Medicare Plan to Cover Chiropractic Treatment?
If you know that you require chiropractic care regularly, then you need to realize that Medicare will only cover cost of treatment for spinal subluxation. Until you meet the annual deductibles, you are responsible for the cost of treatment. Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans offer partial coverage for some chiropractic care. However, you cannot choose both and must decide between Medigap coverage or Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare does provide coverage for the cost of visits to your chiropractor. Recently, Medicare has also started offering cover for manual manipulation of the spine. On the other hand, the Medicare Part B plan covers the cost of chiropractic care while Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans also help cover the significant cost of chiropractic care.