Medicare covers Acupuncture for chronic pain in lower back

Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture or Other Alternative Medicine like Naturopathic Treatments?

Medicare covers some of the treatments that are offered by naturopathic doctors. While Medicare will not cover all these therapies, it is important to be aware of which ones they do cover so you can speak with your doctor about whether or not your particular ailment would qualify for coverage.

This blog post looks at what you might expect from and how much Medicare pays for certain types of alternative medicine in general as well as acupuncture specifically.

Table of Contents

Does Original Medicare Cover Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the body to relieve pain or treat other health conditions. It is most commonly used to treat pain, but it can also be used to treat other conditions such as anxiety, addiction, fatigue, and migraines.

Acupuncture is generally safe when performed by a trained professional. However, there are some risks associated with acupuncture, such as infection and bruising.

Is Acupuncture Services for Pain Management Covered by Medicare?

If you’re suffering from chronic low back pain, then Medicare covers acupuncture for up to 12 acupuncture visits in a 90 days period.

Medicare will pay for up to 8 additional acupuncture treatments if you show improvement for a maximum of 20 acupuncture sessions per year.

If your doctor decides that chronic back pain isn’t improving or getting worse.

Medicare beneficiaries wanting acupuncture for chronic low back pain will need to obtain the needed approval prior to receiving services.

It is vital the acupuncture office bills Medicare correctly in order to properly cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain.

Without a Medicare supplement policy, you will be responsible for your Part B deductible, copay, and coinsurance if it has not been met for the calendar year.

If you purchased a Medigap Plan G, you would only be responsible for your Part B deductible to treat chronic lower back pain.

What are the benefits of Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions and has been shown to provide pain relief. It involves the insertion of thin needles into the body at specific points.

There are a number of potential benefits associated with acupuncture, including:

  • Relief from pain
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Boosted energy levels
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced inflammation

It is important to work with a health care provider who is experienced with Medicare and how they bill for services. They should be aware that you only qualify for acupuncture treatment of chronic lower back pain for up to 20 sessions.

What are the Coverage Requirements for Medicare to Pay for Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a covered service under Medicare Part B if it is provided by a licensed acupuncturist, and if it is considered medically necessary in limited situations. The treatment must also be reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of your medical condition.

There are some limitations to what Medicare will cover for acupuncture. For example, Medicare will not cover the cost of acupuncture services that are provided solely for preventive care or for the purpose of relaxation.

In addition, Medicare will not cover acupuncture services that are not part of an overall treatment plan that has been approved by your doctor.

Medicare Part B may cover acupuncture to treat a qualifying condition. Coverage of Acupuncture is limited to obtaining services for acupuncture to treat chronic lower back pain.  You are eligible for 12 sessions in 90 days. 

To get acupuncture covered under Medicare your doctor must show you meet the specific guidelines established by Original Medicare.

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine that focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) use a variety of modalities to treat patients, including acupuncture, botanical medicine, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle changes. 

NDs are trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions using natural methods.

Medicare does not cover naturopathic treatments. However, some private insurance plans may cover these services. If you are interested in receiving naturopathic care, check with your private insurance provider to see if they offer coverage.

What are the Coverage Requirements for other Naturopathic treatments?

Other naturopathic treatments may be covered by Medicare if they are considered medically necessary and are provided by a Medicare-approved provider. These treatments may include but are not limited to, acupuncture, chiropractic services, and massage therapy. It is always advisable to verify your treatment will be covered by Medicare before obtaining services. Not all acupuncture and oriental medicine are covered by Original Medicare.

Does Medicare Coverage Osteopathic Medicine?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers a wide range of medical services. Medicare coverage includes hospitalization, physician services, prescription drugs, and more.

Osteopathic medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on the joints, muscles, and bones. Osteopathic physicians use manipulative techniques to diagnose and treat illness.

Medicare does cover some manipulative therapies performed by chiropractors and physical therapists. Medicare also covers some preventive services related to osteoporosis.

If you are interested in osteopathic medicine, you will need to pay for these services out of pocket or through a private insurance plan.

Does Medicare cover Medical Marijuana?

No, Medicare does not cover medical marijuana. While many states have legalized Marijuana, the federal government has yet to take this position.

Is CBD Oil Covered by Medicare?

Does Medicare cover CBD oil?

Medicare does not cover CBD oil. Similar to Medical marijuana it is not an approved drug by the FDA and is considered an illegal substance by the federal government.

The Future Outlook on Medicare Coverage for Naturopathy

Currently, Medicare does not broadly cover acupuncture or other naturopathic treatments. However, this may change in the future as more and more research is conducted on the efficacy of these alternative treatments.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most popular forms of alternative medicine. It has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, and its popularity has only grown in recent years. 

A large body of research has been conducted on acupuncture, and many studies have shown that it is effective for treating pain, headaches, nausea, and a variety of other conditions.

Despite the promising research on acupuncture, it is still not considered a mainstream treatment by most insurance companies. This may change in the future as more research is conducted and as the public becomes more aware of its benefits. 

However, for now, Medicare does not cover acupuncture or any other form of naturopathic medicine.

How can I get Coverage for Acupuncture or other Naturopathic Treatments?

There are a few ways that you can get coverage for acupuncture or other naturopathic treatments. One way is to check with your local Medicare Advantage plans to see if they are willing to offer any healthcare benefits for these services.

Many Medicare Advantage plans will provide coverage for both acupuncture and chiropractic care up to a specific number of visits.

You could also consider a Medigap policy. Medigap policies are offered by private insurance companies and they help pay for some of the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Medigap policies work alongside Original Medicare, so it will fill in the gaps of covered acupuncture or other naturopathic treatment.   You’ll need to check with Medicare first to ensure the medical procedure you are wanting is covered.

Does Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Acupuncture?

Yes. As Medicare Advantage plans may cover acupuncture as part of their health plan, and they have the option to include more benefits within their plans. When selecting a Medicare Advantage plan, ensure you are fully protected for your primary health care needs to include Part D prescription drug coverage.

A doctor must have an unrestricted license to practice acupuncture and learn medicine from a school accredited by the accreditation commission that is qualified to provide Medicare and Medicaid services.

Medicare Advantage plans will limit their coverage to 12 acupuncture sessions and may request for the Medicare Advantage plan to cover an additional eight sessions for a total of 20 acupuncture treatments from a licensed acupuncturist.

Medicare Advantage plans must cover the same benefits provided by Original Medicare, but they have the option to provide more health benefits. This means they are not limited to chronic pain in the lower back and may provide additional Medicare options.

Do Medicare Advantage plans cover Naturopathic care?

No, Medicare Advantage plans do not typically cover naturopathic care. Your specific Medicare insurance company may have a plan catering to these needs but this would not be a common plan.

How do Medigap plans Provide Acupuncture Coverage?

Original Medicare, which includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), does not cover acupuncture. However, some Medigap plans may offer coverage for acupuncture as part of their benefits package.

While Medicare does not cover acupuncture, some private insurance plans may offer coverage for this type of treatment. Some Medigap plans also include a free gym membership.

Chronic Lower Back Pain

Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care for Chronic Low Back Pain?

Chiropractic care is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, with an emphasis on the spine. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people over 65, does cover chiropractic care for chronic lower back pain. 

Medicare Part B covers this benefit under certain conditions that must meet Original Medicare guidelines.

Medicare Part B covers manual manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor or other qualified provider to correct vertebral subluxations.

Medicare doesn’t cover a wide range of services and tests that chiropractors order, including X-rays. It also does not pay for acupuncture unless it is being used as a treatment for chronic low back pain

Medicare covers up to 12 visits per year, and patients must first try other conservative treatments, such as physical therapy before Medicare will cover chiropractic care.

What is Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine includes a wide range of healing practices and therapies that are not typically included in conventional Western medicine. Alternative medicine includes acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine.

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted into the skin at specific points on the body. It is believed that this can help to improve health by restoring balance and harmony within the body’s energy systems.

Homeopathy is another form of alternative medicine that seeks to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a disease. Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances such as plants and minerals. They are diluted so that they are safe to take and are given in very small doses.

Naturopathic medicine is a system of healing that focuses on supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors use a variety of modalities such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling, and herbal medicines.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient system of healing that has been used in China for centuries. TCM practitioners use herbs, acupuncture, and other modalities to restore balance within the body’s energy systems.

Do Medicare Plans Cover Alternative Medicine?

While Medicare does not cover acupuncture specifically, it does cover other alternative medicine treatments under certain circumstances. For example, Medicare will cover chiropractic care if it is deemed medically necessary and if it is provided by a licensed chiropractor.

As with any type of medical treatment, it is important to check with your doctor to see if an alternative medicine treatment is right for you and to find out if your Medicare plan will cover the cost.

Does Medicare Part D and Holistic Treatments?

Medicare Part D plans may cover some holistic treatments if they are considered medically necessary. 

However, coverage will vary from plan to plan, so it’s important to check with your prescription drug insurance provider to see what is covered under your specific policy.

Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is here to help you explore Medicare plans that may cover your alternative medicines.  

Our Medicare insurance agents are experts in the insurance industry and have helped thousands of Medicare beneficiaries find plans that are most suited for them.  

Give us a call and we will help you find a health insurance plan to meet your needs.