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, under any other circumstances there isn’t any coverage.

Let’s discover how to get Medicare coverage for acupuncture.

Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture in 2022?

Medicare will cover acupuncture if you have a diagnosis of chronic lower back pain. If you have chronic lower back pain Medicare funds up to 12 sessions of acupuncture treatment 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 acupuncture treatments for chronic back pain, your symptoms must show some improvement within the first 12 sessions.

During a 12-month period, 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 acupuncture treatment 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, to qualify for coverage lower back pain can have no known cause, 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 of 2020. In one CMS press release, they state that the decision to add new access to acupuncture 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 acupuncture under specific circumstances and 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 covers it. But there are Medicare Advantage plans covering alternative therapies such as acupuncture.

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 even for chronic lower back pain. A Medicare Advantage plan might provide coverage for dry needling, but it might not be available everywhere.

FAQs

Does Medicare cover acupuncture performed by a chiropractor?

Medicare won’t cover acupuncture 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 acupuncture for is chronic lower back pain.

Is acupuncture covered by Medicaid?

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

How to Get Medicare Insurance for Acupuncture

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

Of course, health insurance is more than just acupuncture. So, no matter which plans you choose, make sure 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.

Picture of the author
by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert 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.