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Does Medicare Pay for Alternative Medicine Treatments?

June 9, 2021

Searching for different medical treatments can be common, especially if you’re looking to be less reliant on medications and find something more holistic instead. Alternative medicine is one option that many seniors have turned to feel better and extend their years. But the big question: does Medicare cover it?

Arziona senior couple doing yoga on grass, a type of alternative medicine.

Yoga is considered a part of alternative medicine.

What is Alternative Medicine?

“Alternative medicine” is a pretty broad term. It covers many different medical practices and theories that are outside the accepted medical orthodox. It’s also called holistic medicine because it focuses on treatments for the whole person, physically and mentally.

Alternative medicine can be anything from eating a special diet to meditation to yoga. Common alternative medicine treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, and pain management therapies. Since the range of services is so wide under alternative medicine, it’s difficult to verify the general effectiveness of it all.

So, is it Covered by Medicare?

If you want to try alternative medicine treatments, you’re going to want to know if it’s covered by Medicare. Because the term is so broad, there isn’t a definitive answer. However, the answer, more often than not, will be that it’s not covered by Medicare. The reason goes back to how there isn’t enough evidence out there for Medicare to cover those services.

You may still have a few options, though. One option is to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. It’s impossible to say all types of alternative medicine treatments will be covered, but some aspects might. You can also try documenting your alternative care treatment. This way, you can try appealing to Medicare and ask for a reimbursement. A referral from your doctor and all relevant documents will help with this process. However, keep in mind your claim can still be denied.

What Treatments Does Medicare Cover?

Fortunately, there are exceptions to every rule! If you use these treatments, you’re in luck. Know that these treatments come with a few rules, and usually require a doctor’s referral or need to fit special circumstances.

Medicare Part B covers acupuncture. It’s covered for up to 12 appointments in 90 days if the beneficiary has chronic lower back pain with no identifiable cause related to illness, surgery, or pregnancy. Chiropractic services are also covered by Part B, but only when it’s medically needed to correct a spinal subluxation. It can also cover various pain management therapies, some nutritional therapies, and mental health treatment.

If You Need Help, Signature Senior Solutions is Here
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Always here to assist you with your Medicare needs.

Coverage varies from plan to plan, so it can be hard to look over all your Medicare plans. It can be more difficult if it’s to make sure your alternative medicine treatment is covered. Don’t feel like you have to deal with this headache alone. At Signature Senior Solutions, we look over your plan with you and help you figure out what’s covered for you and what isn’t. We’re always here to help.

Signature Senior Solutions is located in Cave Creek, and services all of Maricopa County and Arizona. If you’re out of state, don’t worry, we have a multi-state license and can serve you too.