Chiropractors are health care professionals who perform manual techniques to adjust the spine and eliminate misalignments that may be causing issues. Research indicates that spinal adjustments are effective at treating chronic and severe neck and back pain. As these treatment methods become more popular, more people want to know if Medicare will cover chiropractic care.
Medicare has specific criteria for covering chiropractic procedures, and our agents are here to explain.
What Is Chiropractic Care?
The treatment system that chiropractors use to align your muscles and bones is called “chiropractic care.” A common form of chiropractic care is spinal manipulation or a chiropractic adjustment. This is when the chiropractor performs movements to bring your body’s system back into normal alignment. As it stands, manual manipulation of the spine is the only kind of chiropractic treatment covered by Medicare.
You’ll need an official diagnosis from a licensed chiropractor for Medicare to cover the treatment.
What Parts of Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?
Part A doesn’t cover chiropractic visits. Chiropractic care is a service that typically occurs in a doctor’s office — not an emergency procedure performed in a hospital.
Note: Some chiropractors do have hospital privileges.
Part B covers services and treatments that are medically necessary, plus preventative care. This part of Medicare will cover spinal manipulation (alignment) as an approved medical treatment for spinal subluxation (misalignment).
The number of treatments covered may depend on how many are needed to fix your condition. Part B will cover 80% of the treatment cost after you’ve reached your annual deductible. Your chiropractor may order X-rays, but Medicare won’t cover the costs of these.
Note: If a certain bill passes, there could be an increase in Medicare coverage for chiropractic services in the future.
Part C, also called Medicare Advantage or MA, are health plans offered by private insurers. These plans serve as your primary insurance and may cover extra treatments not covered by Parts A and B.
Some Medicare Advantage programs may cover chiropractic care, but each individual plan will vary. Some plans may also cover treatments beyond spinal manipulation. Bobby Brock Insurance can provide more information about what individual plans cover, and we can help you compare the costs of different plans.
Medicare Supplement Insurance, also called Medigap plans, are policies you can buy in addition to Parts A and B. These plans can help pay copayments and deductibles.
If you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and are approved for chiropractic care, you’re still subject to 20% of the cost. If you’ve bought a Medigap plan, that policy would cover that expense. You can compare Medicare supplemental coverage on our website.
Three Symptoms of a Subluxation
Spinal subluxations should be corrected because they can damage your health. If you’re unsure whether this is an issue for you, check these common symptoms:
- Pain in the neck or back
- Sudden headaches
- An inability to move
Enrolling in Medicare If You Need Chiropractic Care
If you need chiropractic treatment, consider these tips for enrolling in Medicare:
- Mark your calendar for the open enrollment period. It’s October 15 to December 7 each year and lets you enroll in or make changes to your Medicare coverage.
- Compare plans. Make sure any plan you select includes chiropractic care.
- Before you enroll, see if your chiropractor is approved and included in your plan’s network.
Summary of Medicare Chiropractic Coverage
The cost of chiropractic treatment is your responsibility until you hit your annual deductible.
Medicare Part B covers chiropractic services, but other plans can contribute as well. Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans can help pay for your treatments, but you must choose one or the other — you can’t have both.
If you have further questions about what Medicare covers, or to purchase a plan, contact Bobby Brock Insurance today.