As we get older, our bodies don’t work as well as they did when we were younger. Aches and pains can last longer and dealing with those aches and pains in later life can be a bit more stressful.
A lot of older people turn to things like massage therapy as it tends to help in minimizing the pain. Massage therapy and things similar also help us to relax and destress.
But does Medicare cover massage therapy? In this article, we will be discussing what massage therapy is, a brief overview of Medicare, and whether or not it covers massage therapy.
Table of contents
What Is Massage Therapy?
Massage Therapy is an alternative treatment that helps with medical conditions and enhances an individual’s wellness.
This form of alternative therapy helps to manipulate the soft tissues in the body and relieve any tension, strain, or pain, making the person receiving the massage feel better and more relaxed.
There are a few different types of massage. The most common and well-known is usually called a Swedish or Classical Massage, but you can get lots of different types depending on what areas of the body you want worked on. Other popular types of massage include Shiatsu, sports massage, and clinical.
Massage therapy is popular in both Western and Eastern countries and has been a preferred alternative therapy by millions all over the world for a very long time.
What Are The Benefits Of Massage Therapy?
There are many benefits to massage therapy. One of the biggest benefits is that massage therapy helps with pain. Some of the types of pain massage therapy help with the most are neck and shoulder pain, lower back pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis of the knee.
Massage therapy is also really helpful for relaxing and recentering the mind. It is very popular in many spiritual and esoteric communities because of the mental benefits it provides.
Though it does not cure mental health issues, it is believed that massage therapy provides a great deal of help in reducing anxiety and depression and overall gives the receiver a calmer mind.
What Is Medicare?
Before we get into if Medicare covers massage therapy, it’s important we know exactly what it is.
Medicare is federal health insurance that is given to people aged 65 and over. Medicare is also available to certain younger people with disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
There are three different parts to Medicare:
- Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance): Part A covers any inpatient hospital stays, some home healthcare, hospice care, and care in a skilled nursing facility.
- Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance): Part B covers certain doctor’s services, medical supplies, outpatient care, and preventative services.
- Medicare Part D (Perscription Drug Services): Part D helps in covering the cost of prescription drugs, which includes many recommended vaccines or shots.
There are premium options for the different parts of Medicare, but the ones listed above are what you generally receive on a standard Medicare plan. The premium options of Medicare usually cost a lot more per month.
What Is Medicare (Part C)
Medicare (Part C), also known as Medicare Advantage, is another option of Medicare you can add to your overall Medicare package if you are eligible. It is a premium service, however, so you will have to pay a bit more for Medicare (Part C).
Part C offers coverage for Part A and Part B, but also offers additional services such as:
- Dental Care
- Transportation to doctors appointments
- Some gym memberships
- Some alternative treatment options
- Home meal delivery after an inpatient stay at the hospital
To work out if you have eligibility for Medicare (Part C), you need to already have Medicare (Part A) & (Part B), and you need to live in an area that provides the services of Medicare (Part C).
If you are confused about Medicare (Part C) and how to get it, speak with your doctor and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Does Medicare Cover Massage Therapy?
In short, Medicare, unfortunately, doesn’t cover massage therapy.
Massage Therapy is considered to be an “alternative treatment” and not deemed medically necessary, so they are not covered by Medicare.
This means if you want to get some massage therapy done, you will need to pay 100% of the costs associated with it. Don’t be disheartened though! There are lots of affordable massage therapists out there. If you do the right research and consider your budget, you will be able to afford it yourself.
However, if you have Medicare (Part C), also known as Medicare Advantage, you may be able to get coverage for massage therapy.
In order for Medicare Advantage to cover your costs of massage therapy you need to do the following:
- Actively seek treatment for a condition related to an illness or injury.
- Get a prescription from an in-network doctor for massage therapy to treat that condition related to an illness or injury.
- Find a massage therapist that is state-licensed. They must be registered with your plan’s network and has a National Provider Identifier.
Bare in mind when it comes to Medicare (Plan C), that not everyone is eligible for it and even if you are, it usually still costs extra. So really work out your budget before you try to apply for Medicare (Plan C).
As you can see, it isn’t an easy task to get coverage from Medicare in regards to massage therapy… not it’s also not impossible!
If you are eligible for Medicare (Plan C) you are more likely to be able to get massage therapy added to your plan.
You may still have to pay an additional fee, but if it is covered by Medicare (Plan C), it won’t be as expensive as it would have been without it.
And remember, always talk to your doctor about any issues or confusions you may have when trying to seek this information out. They are there to help and provide you with all the knowledge you need!
Frequently Asked Questions
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Medicare Part B covers the cost of outpatient services, including injectable and infused drugs such as cortisone injections that are given by a licensed medical provider. If a doctor confirms that cortisone shots are medically necessary, Part B covers 80% of the cost.
No, most seniors pay between $175 and $371 per month depending on what kinds of Medicare coverage they buy. However, seniors who have a low income can qualify for free or reduced-cost Medicare.