Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture?

As of January 21, 2020, Medicare announced an acupuncture coverage memo to give beneficiaries clinical strategies that include nonpharmacologic therapies for chronic low back pain since opioids were involved in 47,600 deaths in 2017. The memo goes on to indicate potential coverage for Medicare patients for chronic low back pain only. It states a patient would be covered for up to 12 visits within a 90-day period, and possibly 8 additional visits if improvement is shown. This news has been long awaited & is a step in the right direction.  However, there are some caveats that cannot be ignored within the decision. There is positive research on acupuncture for chronic pain & its benefits, and while Medicare does acknowledge these benefits, the memo released by medicare doesn’t fully support it just yet.


Will I be covered by Medicare for (acupuncture treatment of my chronic low back pain?

Again, with this question comes several caveats. Although there has been a memo in regards to coverage, there are several parts of the memo that are unclear and incomplete.


Will there be an update to Medicare’s memo for coverage of acupuncture to clarify unclear sections of the memo?

As of right now, there has not been an update to the memo. We have reached out to Medicare to stay up to date on the latest coverage information, and they are still getting clarification on details of the coverage themselves.


Can I still get treatment from Acupuncture Specialists?

Yes.  Even if you do have Medicare, we offer exceptional & affordable treatment to suit your needs.  Additionally, there are many secondary insurances to Medicare that do have acupuncture coverage, so we will check in with your secondary if you have one to see if you potentially have coverage through them.


In summary, will I be covered for acupuncture if I have Medicare?

Unfortunately, at this time, no. While Medicare is attempting to make coverage happen, which is great, at this time there are many incomplete & unclear points made in their current memo of coverage that indicates a lack of coverage for beneficiaries. We, at Acupuncture Specialists, will be doing our due diligence to keep you informed on any updates to Medicare’s acupuncture coverage. In the meantime, we are more than happy to provide you with the same excellent service & care that we always have.

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