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Medicare covers chiropractic services, but only under certain circumstances, and Medicare doesn’t cover some services and tests a chiropractor orders.
What chiropractic care does Medicare cover?
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers manual manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor or another qualified provider if it’s medically necessary to correct a subluxation. A subluxation is when one or more of the bones in your spine has moved out of alignment. (And you must have an official diagnosis.)
However, Medicare doesn’t cover any other services or tests ordered by a chiropractor, such as X-rays, massage therapy and acupuncture (except for chronic low back pain).
If an X-ray is used to document subluxation, it must be ordered by a physician who is an M.D. or doctor of osteopathic medicine. Chiropractors hold a doctor of chiropractic degree.
What will chiropractic care cost under Medicare?
Chiropractic services are covered under Medicare Part B, so you’ll pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, plus the Part B deductible, if that applies.
Your specific costs will depend on how much the doctor charges, the type of facility and where you get the services, among other things.
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Does Medicare Advantage cover chiropractic services?
Medicare Advantage plans — otherwise known as Medicare Part C plans — are required to cover at least as much as Medicare Part A and Part B, so they’ll offer the same coverage as above. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits and coverage, including massage therapy and acupuncture, so check with the specific plan to see if they cover other chiropractic services.
Do you have questions about your Medicare coverage? Visit Medicare at Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227, TTY: 877-486-2048).