Does Medicare cover acupuncture?

Does Medicare cover acupuncture now? Medicare Part B will cover 12 sessions of acupuncture to treat lower back pain. If you show improvements, they will cover an additional eight sessions. Medicare Advantage may cover acupuncture, but you should contact your policyholder to make sure. Read more about Medicare acupuncture coverage options below.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Medicare Part B will cover 12 sessions of acupuncture to treat chronic lower back pain. If you show improvement, they will cover an additional eight sessions.
  • Medicare Advantage may cover acupuncture, but you should contact your individual policyholder to make sure.

Acupuncture is a treatment designed for pain relief by stimulating very specific parts of the body. One of the most common methods includes using thin needles to treat pain in the back, neck, and knees, as well as headaches.

Many health insurance companies cover acupuncture, but does Medicare cover acupuncture? Sometimes. We’ll discuss this in further detail below.

If you’re looking for an affordable health insurance plan in your area, find health insurance quotes using our comparison tool above by entering your ZIP code. Not yet ready to buy health insurance? Read on to learn more.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture?

Medicare Part B will cover acupuncture as a treatment for chronic lower back pain. Chronic lower back pain is defined as having lasted for at least 12 weeks and being due to an unknown cause, not due to pregnancy or surgery.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture for fibromyalgia? The decision to do so was rejected in 2004.

If your back pain meets these criteria, Medicare Part B will cover up to 12 sessions of acupuncture within 90 days. If you show signs of improvement due to these 12 sessions, Medicare will then cover an additional eight sessions. However, if you do not show signs of improvement, Medicare will stop covering these sessions. You cannot exceed 20 sessions per year.

The health care provider responsible for your acupuncture must also meet specific criteria. They must have a master’s or doctoral degree in acupuncture or Oriental medicine from a school that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Medicare Advantage may vary in their coverage options and limits regarding acupuncture. Some plans will offer acupuncture as a perk similar to dental or vision coverage. You should contact your policyholder to ask them about their acupuncture coverage.

You may still face out-of-pocket expenses, such as your premium, deductible, and copayment or coinsurance. A Medigap plan could help cover some of these expenses.

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Conclusion

Medicare Part B will only cover up to 20 sessions (or 12 sessions for those who don’t show improvement) of acupuncture per year.

Medicare Advantage may cover acupuncture, but you should contact your policyholder to make sure.

Let us help you find a health insurance plan for you by entering your ZIP code into our free tool below to compare health insurance rates from insurance companies in your area. Which health insurance company is for you? Find out now.

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