Acupuncture is a traditional healing methodology that’s being used more and more in the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that more than one million adults receive acupuncture services each year. A decent portion are elderly, so you might be wondering, “Does Medicare cover acupuncture?”

Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture?

Your Medicare health insurance may or may not cover the costs of acupuncture therapy. If you have Medicare Part B, then there are specific criteria that your acupuncture care must satisfy in order to qualify for coverage.

Medicare Part B will cover up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days for chronic low back pain. In this situation, chronic low back pain is defined as:

  • Lasting more than 12 weeks
  • Stemming from unknown causes
  • Pain that’s not associated with surgery or pregnancy

If you qualify for this and receive your 12 covered sessions, Medicare will cover an additional eight if you show improvement. That being said, no more than 20 acupuncture sessions will be covered by Medicare Part B each year.

It’s also important to note that not every practitioner of acupuncture will be able to request Medicare reimbursement for your treatment. In order to qualify for this coverage, an acupuncturist must:

  • Have a masters or doctorate degree in acupuncture from an accredited school
  • Have a current, full, active, and unrestricted license to practice acupuncture in the state that you’re receiving care

Are There Other Scenarios in Which Medicare Will Cover Acupuncture?

If you just have Original Medicare, then the scenario above is the only one in which you can receive reimbursement for acupuncture. However, you may have additional options to consider if you have a different type of Medicare coverage.

For example, individuals with Medicare Advantage plans may be able to have acupuncture sessions that are unrelated to chronic back pain covered. Exact coverages will vary based on the specific type of Medicare Advantage plan that you have.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points throughout your body. This process, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is supposed to balance the flow of energy or life force (known as chi) through your body.

What is Acupuncture Used For?

Traditionally, acupuncture has been used as a form of pain management. However, in recent years, it’s been increasingly used to support a variety of additional health conditions.

For example, you might consider using acupuncture for conditions like:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Labor pain
  • Headaches
  • Dental pain
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

If you’d like to learn more about using Medicare to cover the costs of acupuncture treatment or curious to know more about what does Medicare cover, consider contacting a partnered licensed agent through Time for 65. Our agents are Medicare experts who can tell you more about the various types of Medicare plans that will cover acupuncture. You can get started with that process today. To do so, simply fill out this form or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

Get Your Free 2021 Guide
to Medicare