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Medicare and Massage Therapy

Massage therapies can be highly beneficial for patients who suffer from joint and muscle disorders. Massage of body parts such as the back, neck, arms, and legs can help to relieve muscle stiffness in these regions.

It can also improve blood circulation in the bone, joint, and muscle tissues as well as skin thereby boosting the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to these parts.

This can speed up the healing and repair of damaged tissues and help to restore health in a shorter duration.

Hence, massage therapies are commonly included in the management of joint diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cervical and lumbar spondylosis.

It can also be beneficial for patients who experience muscle pains and stiffness due to a faulty posture or prolonged working hours.

If you would like to derive these benefits of massage therapies, it would be a good idea to first find out whether your Medicare plan covers these costs. Let us have a look at the coverage offered by Medicare for massage therapies and check if you can seek any other insurance plan for the same.

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Will Medicare cover Massage Therapy?

Original Medicare Part A and B do not cover the costs of massage therapies as it is considered an alternative therapy.

Medicare covers some other forms of alternative therapies such as occupational and physical therapy services when they are considered a part of the overall treatment plan and deemed to be medically necessary. But, since massage therapies are not considered medically necessary and are recommended only to speed up the recovery and obtain relief from pain and stiffness, it is not covered by Medicare.

Massage therapies are categorized as Alternative and Complementary Medicine by the government.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also does not define massage therapy as a widely accepted medical practice or an essential benefit. Hence, it is difficult to verify it as a necessary form of treatment for insurance purposes.

Hence, the entire costs of these therapies will have to be borne by you. Also, most Medicaid policies also do not offer coverage for massage.

However, you can check whether any Medicare Advantage plan offers coverage for massage treatments, especially if you plan to receive these therapies on a regular basis.

What are the alternatives to Medicare for massage therapy coverage?

It is possible that massage therapy is covered by a few major insurance companies. However, the extent of costs covered would depend on the particular policy held by the patient and the premium paid as well as the state where the patient lives and receives the therapy.

For example, though Medicaid does not cover massage therapy at home, it may cover some costs of massage therapies when it is performed in a hospital depending on the patient’s specific conditions.

Also, different states have different requirements and laws for massage therapy coverage and reimbursement. Most insurance policies pay only a part of the costs of massage therapy services and these costs are reimbursed after the recipient has paid for the same out of his own pocket.

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