Chiropractic Services: Medicare Coverage and Costs

Medicare Coverage for Chiropractic Services

Every year, almost 22 million Americans visit chiropractors. Out of these, 35% seek relief from back pain due to several causes, such as accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Meanwhile, other complaints include neck pain, arms and legs pain, and headaches.

Chiropractic treatments are often preferred among other relief alternatives, mainly for back relief. However, the question is, how much does a chiropractic treatment cost? Moreover, does Medicare cover it? If not, what kind of services does Medicare cover to seek relief from back pain.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic therapy relies on the appropriate alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal system — the structure of your muscles and bones — allowing the body to heal itself without the need for surgery or drugs.

Chiropractic therapy focuses on the spine and treats pain in the back, joints, bones, muscles, and other soft tissue and skeletal components in the body.

Chiropractors typically adjust bones in the spine or joints using their hands to relieve discomfort and increase movement or mobility. Chiropractic therapy is frequently employed following tissue injury caused by falls, stress, overexertion, accidents, or simply a lack of back support when sitting.

What Conditions a Chiropractor Can Treat

Chiropractors see an estimated 35 million individuals in the United States each year — according to the American Chiropractic Association. Chiropractic therapy is a viable alternative to surgery or pain drugs to treat pain and discomfort.

The following are some of the issues that a chiropractor may help with:

  • Backache
  • Joints, ligaments, and muscles are all affected by these disorders.
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain

A chiropractor may also provide wellness treatments, such as diet, exercise, and nutrition interventions, in addition to these services.

Which Medicare Part Covers Chiropractic Care?

Some components of chiropractic therapy are covered by Medicare Part B, which helps patients pay for doctor visits and some associated treatments. Medicare will typically cover 80% of the cost of chiropractic therapy once a client has met their yearly deductible.

Medicare Advantage, often known as Medicare Part C, is a private health insurance company’s alternative to Original Medicare. Chiropractic services may be covered more generously in specific plans than in others. However, the extent of coverage is determined by the plans available in a person’s location.

A Medicare Advantage recipient may be a member of a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO). To obtain full coverage under these policies, the person must use an in-network healthcare practitioner.

As a result, before seeking treatment from a chiropractor, patients should check to see if they are part of their insurance network.

Copayments for chiropractic services may be covered by Medicare supplement, or Medigap, insurance. However, these plans are only available to those with Original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage.

How Much Does a Chiropractic Visit Cost?

If a person has active back pain, Medicare will fund chiropractic manipulation of the spine to help them manage it. However, the program only pays for chiropractic therapy that corrects a condition. It does not cover maintenance or preventative care for spinal manipulations.

Although Medicare covers many chiropractic treatments, massage therapy and X-rays are not included. Therefore, if a chiropractor provides or advises any of these services, the patient should inquire about the costs since they will be responsible for the therapy. On the other hand, Medicare will cover the cost of an X-ray performed by a physician.

Chiropractors treat various spinal and other conditions, with prices varying depending on location, therapy, and the number of appointments. Each episode’s cost of chiropractic therapy ranged from $264 to $6,171 in a 2015 study, with a median of $712.

What Does a Chiropractic Visit with Medicare Cost?

A chiropractic visit will incur a 20% coinsurance fee. Part B of Medicare covers the remaining 80% of the Medicare-approved sum. The deductible for Part B is applicable. With a Medicare Advantage plan, your charges may be different, so be sure to speak with your plan provider directly.

What is the Maximum Number of Chiropractic Visits that Medicare Covers?

Medicare covers chiropractic appointments for medically essential manual manipulation of the spine. “Medically necessary” refers to a therapy that is required to diagnose or treat an illness, injury, ailment, or disease – or its symptoms – and complies with established medical standards. In practice, Medicare may reimburse chiropractic visits for spinal manipulation if the therapy satisfies the requirements for being considered medically essential.

Does Medicare Cover Other Back Pain Services?

Other back pain services, medical treatments, and specific alternative therapies, such as the ones listed below, may be covered by Medicare.


Acupuncture places microscopic needles into the body to restore energy flow and alleviate pain. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stated in January 2020 that Medicare would cover acupuncture to treat persistent low back pain. The program will last up to 90 days and include up to 12 sessions, with an extra eight sessions possible if symptoms improve.

Physical Therapy

Exercises to strengthen and stretch the back are used in physical therapy to address back discomfort. Any physical therapy service that a doctor suggests to address back pain is covered by Medicare Part B. For treatments, a person is liable for 20% of the Medicare-approved amount up to their deductible.

However, because the program does not presently cover massage therapy, a person is liable for the total cost of this back pain treatment.

It’s worth noting that Medicare coverage changes often and frequently expands to include new therapies. The Medicare website features a handy tool that individuals can use to search for a particular service to see whether the program covers it.


Some persons who suffer from back discomfort may benefit from chiropractic treatment. If an individual has active back pain and shows progress over time, Medicare will reimburse the therapy.

As of January 2020, Medicare will cover up to 12 acupuncture treatments, with the option of an additional eight sessions if the treatment successfully lowers back pain.

Simpler Horizons has helped thousands of people find the right plan for their individual needs. We are partnered with licensed insurance agents specializing in Medicare, helping you find a plan that suits your medical needs. So, schedule a call with us to find a Medicare plan now!