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does medicare cover hypnotherapy

Does Medicare Cover Hypnotherapy?

Do you want to know does Medicare cover hypnotherapy? Unfortunately, most of the time, it doesn’t. But sometimes it might, if a doctor says you really need it for a medical reason. Also, if you’re on Medicare Advantage, the rules might be a little different.

woman lying down getting hypnotised - does medicare cover hypnotherapy

This is good to know, especially if you’re dealing with ongoing issues like pain or stress and regular treatments haven’t really helped. In this guide, we’re going to help you understand:

  • When Medicare might actually pay for hypnotherapy
  • How Medicare Advantage plans might have different rules about covering hypnotherapy
  • Tips for making sure you’re doing everything you can to get Medicare to help pay for it
  • Other ways to pay if Medicare won’t cover it

Keep reading to learn how to work through the Medicare system to see if they’ll help pay for your hypnotherapy.

Does Medicare Cover Hypnotherapy?

The short answer is usually not. But there may be some situations where you can get Medicare to cover the cost of hypnotherapy. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your hypnotherapy. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) Medicare Advantage (Part C) Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)
Coverage Only covers if medically necessary Covers what Original Medicare covers plus may offer additional benefits Does not cover hypnotherapy

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) covers hypnotherapy if they consider it medically necessary. This could be to treat a medical condition including psychological ones.

To get coverage you will need a prescription from a doctor. It should state your medical condition and/or why hypnotherapy is medically necessary. Some of the “medically necessary” conditions include chronic pain, anxiety, and somatoform.

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may also cover hypnotherapy. They cover everything Original Medicare covers and some additional benefits.

Understanding Medicare Coverage for Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can be used for various issues like anxiety, pain, and weight loss. But generally, Medicare doesn’t cover it. If you have Medicare and are considering hypnotherapy, here’s what you can do:

1. Talk to your doctor: They can guide you on whether hypnotherapy is a good fit and what Medicare might cover.  

2. Look into extra insurance or other ways to pay: Some supplemental plans could cover hypnotherapy. You can also think about paying yourself or using a Health Savings Account (HSA).

3. Find hypnotherapists who know Medicare: When looking for a provider, know if they accept Medicare. It is also important to know if they take Medicare patients.

4. Keep up with Medicare changes: The rules around hypnotherapy and Medicare can change. Stay updated by checking the Medicare website or calling your plan.

Traditional Medicare, which includes Part A for hospital stays and Part B for doctor visits, usually won’t pay for hypnotherapy. But if you have Medicare Advantage (Part C), you might have a chance of getting some of the cost covered. It depends on the specific plan you have.

Medicare’s drug plans, known as Part D, won’t cover the costs of hypnotherapy either.

If you want extra coverage, you might think about getting a supplemental plan like Medigap or a special Medicare Advantage plan that does cover hypnotherapy.

You also have the choice to pay for hypnotherapy yourself, or you could use a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have one.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your Medicare, it’s really important to know what’s covered and what’s not when it comes to hypnotherapy.

Comparing Medicare’s Approach with Other Health Insurance 

Medicare is generally hesitant to cover hypnotherapy. Despite that many private insurance companies do offer some degree of coverage. 

For private insurance, the terms can vary depending on the plan and the medical condition for which you seek treatment. While some private insurers require hypnotherapy to be medically necessary, others have broader criteria.

Coverage of Hypnotherapy in International Health Systems

Internationally, hypnotherapy coverage is a mixed bag. In the UK, for example, it’s included in national health insurance. However, in Canada, it’s generally not covered by government plans, although some private insurers do offer it.

Possible Reasons for Differing Coverage Decisions

Why the difference? One reason could be the ongoing debate about how effective hypnotherapy is. Some studies suggest it can help with conditions like pain and anxiety. However, other research isn’t so sure. 

Cost could be another factor. Hypnotherapy isn’t cheap, and not all insurance companies may see it as medically necessary.

How Much Does Hypnotherapy Cost?

Service Cost Range
First session (including consultation) $100-$300
Follow up sessions $75-$300

The first session of hypnotherapy usually includes initial consultation. Initial consultation along with hypnotherapy may cost between $100 to $300. However, some hypnotherapy does not charge initial consultation. Follow-up visits may cost $75 to $300.

Alternatives To Paying for Hypnotherapy

If that’s too pricey for you, there are some other options.

Sliding-Scale Payments: Some therapists offer income-based plans.

Community Health Centers: These offer free or low-cost services, sometimes including hypnotherapy.

Employer Insurance: Your work-based plan might offer coverage. Some cover it fully while others partially

Medicare Financial Assistance: Special grants can help if you meet certain financial criteria.

Before you set up a meeting, ask the hypnotherapist if they take insurance. Also, find out how you can pay and if there are any special deals or lower prices.

What Is Hypnotherapy?

It is a therapy that uses hypnosis and is performed by clinical hypnotherapists. The hypnosis method is like being lost or absorbed in a book, music, movie, and even one’s own self-thoughts. As a result, patients can see through themselves and use that to help change or regain control of themselves.

The Science and Efficacy of Hypnotherapy

A Brief Overview of Hypnotherapy’s History

Hypnotherapy employs techniques such as relaxation and focused attention. This is to induce a hypnotic state. The practice has historical roots, but Franz Anton Mesmer first introduced it to modern medicine in the 18th century. Mesmer’s theories were eventually dismissed. 

However, hypnotherapy gained renewed attention in the 20th century. It is recognized once more through the work of psychiatrist Milton Erickson, who focused on the unconscious mind. His contributions helped legitimize hypnotherapy as a method for treating various conditions.

Medical Applications of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a way to help people with different problems. It is used in managing pain, dealing with stress or anxiety, depression, and overcoming PTSD. 

It can also help people quit smoking, lose weight, or be a performance enhancer. Research shows that hypnotherapy can make a real difference in lessening pain and reducing feelings of anxiety.

Addressing Habits and Addictions

Studies have shown that hypnotherapy can assist in breaking harmful habits and addictions. For instance, research indicates that smokers who undergo hypnotherapy are more likely to quit compared to those who do not.

Additional Uses of Hypnotherapy

Beyond the aforementioned applications, hypnotherapy has also been employed for other conditions. Said conditions include insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome. It has also been applied in areas like performance anxiety.

Understanding the Mechanism

While the exact process behind hypnotherapy is not fully understood, it is thought to involve changes in brain activity. Research has indicated increased activity in the prefrontal cortex. The prefontral cortex is an area in the brain related to attention and focus. Decreased activity in these areas are linked to fear and anxiety.

Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy

The efficacy of hypnotherapy has been subject to multiple studies. With that there is a growing body of evidence supporting its effectiveness. A meta-analysis of 20 different studies concluded that hypnotherapy is effective in reducing symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression.

When To Use Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is used to treat or even solve a patient’s condition, both medical and psychological. Some of the conditions that it treats are:

  • Phobias
  • Anxiety
  • Substance addiction
  • Tobacco addiction
  • Digestive disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Somatoform
  • Sexual dysfunction

The method also helps with personal problems like sleep issues and relationship issues.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

It is often performed in a calm environment. With the help of your therapist, it will help you go into a more relaxed and focused state, not asleep. While in your relaxed state, your therapist will ask you to think about experiences and situations that you think will help you change the way you think and act more positively.

Your therapist will also give you some options or suggestions that you think may help you. You may choose whether you will take the suggestion or not.

Hypnosis can be effective. However, cognitive-behavioral therapy is still the recommended first option. At least when it comes to helping in coping with stress, anxiety, and pain.

The Pros and Cons of Medicare Covering Hypnotherapy


1. Patient Reports: There are anecdotal accounts of individuals benefiting from hypnotherapy for various conditions such as pain management, anxiety, weight loss, and smoking cessation.

2. Potential Cost Savings: Hypnotherapy could reduce healthcare expenses by assisting individuals in managing chronic conditions, thus potentially minimizing the need for surgeries or other costly treatments.

3. Alignment with Patient-Centered Care: Hypnotherapy’s focus on the mind-body connection is consistent with Medicare’s emphasis on individualized, patient-centered care.


1. Limited Scientific Evidence: Current research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for many conditions is not extensive. While some small-scale studies show promise, more research is required.

2. Lack of Standardized Certification: There’s no single set of rules that says what training a hypnotherapist must have to be officially certified. Because of this, it can be hard for people to find a qualified hypnotherapist.

3. Risk of Misuse: There’s a possibility that hypnotherapy could be misused. Another concern is that individuals may become overly reliant on it.


Figuring out if Medicare will help pay for hypnotherapy can be confusing. But if your doctor says you really need it, Medicare might cover some of the cost. Some Medicare Advantage plans even offer more choices for things like this. Since hypnotherapy may help with long-lasting health problems, it’s good to know what help you can get with the costs.

Feel free to share this article with anyone who’s trying to figure out Medicare and is thinking about trying hypnotherapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does insurance cover hypnosis?

Medicare often won’t pay for hypnotherapy, but many private insurances will. The amount covered can differ depending on the insurance plan and the medical issue you have. Some insurances need a doctor to say hypnotherapy is needed, while others are more flexible.

What medical conditions can be treated with hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a way to help people with different kinds of problems. It can help with phobias, have anxiety, or addiction to smoking. It’s also used for stomach issues, long-lasting pain, and troubles with sex. Plus, it can help you sleep better and improve your relationships.

Is hypnotherapy a qualified medical expense?

It can be. But to use your FSA or HSA to pay for hypnotherapy, you’ll have to show the treatment is needed for your health. How much gets covered varies by insurance and your health issue. Some plans require a doctor’s approval.

Will Medicare pay for hypnotherapy done to quit smoking?

Medicare won’t pay for hypnosis or e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking. However, Medicare Part D pays for certain inhalers and sprays if your doctor says you need them. You have to buy things like nicotine gum or patches yourself. Medicare Part B will pay for up to 8 one-on-one talks with a doctor each year to help you quit smoking.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover Coolief and does it cover prolapse surgery.

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