Many people on Medicare wonder if the federal health program covers alternative therapies like acupuncture. While there is one instance where Medicare will cover acupuncture, there isn’t any coverage under other circumstances.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture

Medicare will cover acupuncture if you are diagnosed with chronic lower back pain. If you have chronic lower back pain, Medicare funds up to 12 treatment sessions within a 90-day window.

This treatment will cost you 20% of the fee that Medicare approves. These costs are associated with Part B. To continue treatments for chronic back pain, your symptoms must improve within the first 12 sessions.

During 12 months, Medicare will only cover a maximum of 20 sessions. Also, Medicare provides a list of approved providers in your area.

Can you claim acupuncture on Medicare?

On top of meeting specific qualifying conditions to be eligible for coverage with Medicare, your acupuncturist must be a general practitioner.

But your coverage depends on your policy. Medicare Advantage plans can be a little different.
Further, lower back pain can have no known cause to qualify for coverage, such as inflammatory disease. Also, pain cannot be related to pregnancy or surgery.

When did Medicare begin covering acupuncture?

Medicare began covering acupuncture services for chronic lower back pain in January 2020. One Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services press release states that the decision to add new access is a potential pain alternative to opioid use.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture for arthritis?

Medicare doesn’t cover acupuncture for arthritis. Acupuncture treatment is only available to those diagnosed with chronic lower back pain.

Do Medigap plans cover acupuncture?

Since Medicare covers pain management under specific circumstances, Medigap plans must follow Medicare guidelines. It’s safe to say if Medicare covers the treatment, your Medigap plan pays its portion too.

But, when Medicare doesn’t pay, the Medigap plan won’t cover either.

Do Medicare Advantage plans cover acupuncture?

Part C plans are not required to cover acupuncture any more than Medicare. But there are Medicare Advantage plans covering alternative therapies.

You’ll want to compare the Part C plans in your service area to determine your options.

Does Medicare cover dry needling?

There is no coverage for dry needling with Medicare, not chronic lower back pain. A Medicare Advantage plan might provide coverage for dry needling, but it might not be available everywhere.


Does Medicare cover acupuncture performed by a chiropractor?

Medicare won’t cover treatment performed by a chiropractor. It has to be carried out by a general practitioner.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture for neuropathy?

No, it does not. The only ailment Medicare will cover it is for is chronic lower back pain.

Does Medicaid cover acupuncture?

Medicaid does cover this treatment, but — like Medicare — only for chronic lower back pain.

How to get Medicare coverage for acupuncture

If you have chronic lower back pain, a Medicare supplement plan can cover 20% of the cost you would otherwise pay for your treatments. Those that want treatments for other issues may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan.

Whatever plans you choose, ensure the overall benefits best suit your lifestyle. Our licensed insurance agents can make sure that they do. Also, their assistance is completely complimentary.

Give us a call today to speak with your personal Medicare agent. Or you can fill out our easy online rate form for us to connect you with the best rates in your area.

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Written By:
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Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.
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Rodolfo Marrero, Rodolfo Marrero is one of the co-founders at He has been helping consumers find the right coverage since the site was founded in 2013. Rodolfo is a licensed insurance agent that works hand-in-hand with the team to ensure the accuracy of the content.