Medicare does cover acupuncture. Please read this article to discover how many acupuncture visits are covered and which medical condition is treatable under Medicare. Moreover, you will learn what acupuncture is, who can administer it, and an alternative service also covered by Medicare.
Medicare Covers Acupuncture
On January 21, 2020, CMS announced Medicare Part B covers up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days for chronic lower back pain. Before this date, Medicare did not cover acupuncture. Medicare.gov defines chronic back pain as follows:
- Lasting 12 weeks or longer
- Having no identifiable systemic cause (not associated with metastatic, inflammatory, or infectious disease)
- Pain that is not associated with surgery or pregnancy
Moreover, Medicare covers an additional eight sessions for a total of twenty treatments when you show improvement. However, if your doctor decides your chronic lower back pain is not improving or gets worse, then Medicare will not cover your acupuncture treatments. Furthermore, Medicare does not cover acupuncture for any condition other than chronic lower back pain. Discover what else Medicare does not cover.
Now you know Medicare covers acupuncture, so what exactly is it?
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles at specific points on your body. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. As shown in the photo, acupuncture needles are very thin, like a strand of hair, and the needle length is 1.5 inches. Acupuncture uses these needles to stimulate points on your nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. So who can administer acupuncture treatments, and is it safe?
Medicare Part B requires the acupuncture practitioner to be a licensed health care provider. For example, a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant can administer acupuncture. Moreover, practitioners must have a master’s or doctoral-level degree in acupuncture or Oriental Medicine. These licensed practitioners use sterile single-use disposable needles. So the risk of infection is minimal, but does it hurt?
Medicare Acupuncture Conclusion
In summary, you could get up to 20 Medicare acupuncture treatments per year for chronic lower back pain. Moreover, you learned acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with metal needles administered by licensed acupuncture practitioners. To get acupuncture, you need Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B Application
Beneficaries new to Medicare can apply for Medicare Part B. Learn how you can apply from the safety of your home. You can download the Part B application, fill it out, mail or fax it to your local Social Security office. Robert Bache shows you how to apply for Medicare Part B online in a video. You can complete the entire Part B application online.
Chiropractic Service an Alternative to Acupuncture
Chiropractic service does not use needles and can help with your lower back pain. Medicare Part B covers chiropractic services to correct spinal misalignment and alleviate pain in your back. Learn about the chiropractic costs covered by Medicare and what Medicare Supplement Plan G pays. You can even watch an educational video by Robert Bache.