Modern medicine is pretty remarkable. It can help us become healthier and recover quickly from illnesses and diseases that have proven quite deadly in the past.
But traditional medicine still doesn’t have all the answers. This has led to the increasing popularity of naturopathy and naturopathic medicine. If you’re over 65 and are interested in naturopathy, you’re not alone.
This leads many to ask the question, “does Medicare cover naturopathic doctors?” In this article, we answer this question in clear, plain English. You’ll also find some other helpful information about Naturopathic doctors.
Does Medicare Cover Naturopathic Doctors?
The simple answer is yes, Medicare will cover the cost of Naturopathic doctors. But only some of the time.
As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your Naturopathic Doctors. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.
Medicare covers Naturopathic doctors and some treatments that fall under naturopathy. But there are some conditions.
For example, Medicare and Medicaid started covering acupuncture on January 2, 2020. However, Medicare only covers acupuncture on the lower back. Plus, before they cover the cost of acupuncture, you need a referral from your primary care physician.
It will cover up to 12 acupuncture sessions over a 3 month period. It things go well, then you can get 8 more sessions. For a total of 20 sessions a year.
Some chiropractor visits are also covered by Medicare Part B. However, the chiropractor’s x-rays and massages are not. You will likely have to pay for those yourself. Also, chiropractic services coverage is limited to correcting a misaligned spine.
Medicare also covers nutrition counseling if you are suffering from certain health conditions like diabetes or kidney ailments.
As per usual, in some states Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) will cover naturopathic doctors. Medicare Advantage is more likely to cover naturopathic doctors in states that are more open to holistic medicine practices.
About Naturopathy and Naturopathic Doctors
Naturopathic doctors study and train in accredited naturopathic medical colleges. They specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and treating acute and chronic illnesses through natural medicine and treatment.
Naturopaths try to identify the root cause of an illness (instead of just treating the symptoms). Once they identify the root cause, they use natural treatment that helps the person’s mind, body, and spirit.
This is possibly a less risky treatment than invasive surgeries and usual medicines. Naturopaths say they can provide many of the same benefits with less potential damage.
Naturopathic Doctors also do a lot to help people eat better. With proper diet planning they can help people improve their health and prevent severe conditions. In addition, they also use therapies that can strengthen and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself and strengthen weakened immune systems. They do these through natural methods like using plant-based medications.
Some conditions require invasive procedures like surgeries or chemotherapy. In these situations, a naturopathic doctor will refer you to a medical doctor. However, they can still help by providing supportive therapies that decrease side effects and increase invasive procedures’ effectiveness.
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 grab bars?