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does Medicare cover medical massage

Does Medicare Cover Massage?

Many people think of massage therapy as way to relax. However, massage therapy is not just a stress reliever.  

It also has some health benefits and is effective at treating some health conditions. One example of this is that it can be helpful in boosting blood circulation.  

So a common question many people have is, “Does Medicare cover massage?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of massage therapy and other helpful info. 

Does Medicare Cover Massage? 

The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of your massage therapy. That said, there may be some situations where you can get these costs covered. Below we’ll take a closer look at this to see when you might be able to get Medicare to pay for your massage therapy.  

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for massage therapy. Original Medicare considers massage therapy as an alternative and complementary treatment which is why they do not cover it. So even if massage therapy is medically necessary for treating your medical conditions, Original Medicare will not provide coverage for them.  

However, some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) provide coverage for massage therapy. Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers as well as offer some additional benefits. However, coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan. 

In 2019, some Medicare Part C plans started to cover massage therapy as a supplemental benefit. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, about 270 Medicare Part C plans offer coverage for massage therapy That means nearly 1.5 million enrollees can get coverage for the therapy.  

There is no guarantee your Advantage Plan will cover 100 percent of the costs of your massage therapy. It just depends on which plan you have.  

If your plan does provide coverage for massage therapy, there are still certain conditions that must be met to qualify for it. These conditions are: 

  • The massage therapy treats a condition related to an injury or illness such as limited mobility or chronic pain 
  • Your in-network healthcare provider orders massage therapy to treat a covered medical condition 
  • You go to a state-licensed massage therapist who is in your plan’s network and has a National Provider Identifier 

To find a Medicare Part C plan that offers coverage for massage therapy, you can look up various plans and what they cover at the website. You can also ask your massage therapist which plans their other patients have that provide coverage. 

How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost? 

The national average cost of massage therapy is $100 per session. However, the price of massage therapy ranges from $65 to $180. The specific types of massage therapy you need is a main factor that determines the cost. Also, they type of facility where you get your massage may impact the cost as well. 

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

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover tori removal?


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