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Does Your Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care? Find Out Here

Updated: Jun 1, 2023


text reads Does Your Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care with a health insurance checklist in the center
Find out if your health insurance covers chiropractic care.

You're in pain, and it won't let up. The pain keeps you from doing the activities you enjoy. You've read every blog about relieving pain without medicine, and have repeatedly seen your primary care provider about it. It may be time to look into chiropractic.


According to a 2015 Gallup-Palmer report, approximately 50% of American adults sought chiropractic care to manage pain and improve overall health. However, one question often arises - does insurance cover chiropractic?


This article will explore different types of insurance policies and the factors affecting coverage for chiropractic care.

 

Understanding Chiropractic Care


Chiropractic care is a natural and non-invasive approach to healthcare and is gaining popularity. It involves a holistic approach to health and wellness, emphasizing the nervous system and its relationship to the spine. Chiropractors believe that the body can heal itself and that restoring proper alignment and spine function helps achieve optimal health and wellness.


What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care primarily involves the use of manual manipulation techniques to restore proper alignment of the spine and improve joint function. Restoration is achieved through gentle and caring adjustments that aim to correct misalignments or subluxations in your spine. By doing so, chiropractors can reduce pain, improve function, and promote your body's natural ability to heal.


In addition to manual adjustments, chiropractors may also use other techniques, such as massage therapy, stretching, and exercise to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. They may also provide nutritional counseling and lifestyle advice to help you make positive changes that support your overall health.


Benefits of Chiropractic Treatments

Chiropractic treatments offer a variety of benefits for you. One of the most significant benefits is relieving the pain and discomfort associated with conditions such as back, neck, and joint pain, and headaches. Chiropractic adjustments help reduce inflammation and restore proper function to the affected areas of your body.


Chiropractic care can improve mobility, increase strength and flexibility, and promote overall well-being. You will appreciate the drug-free, non-invasive nature of chiropractic treatments and the personalized approach to care that considers your unique health needs.

Common Conditions Treated by Chiropractors

Chiropractors treat a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Lower back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Neck pain

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Whiplash injuries

  • Shoulder pain

  • Elbow and wrist pain

  • Hip and knee pain

  • Ankle and foot pain

  • Scoliosis

  • Sports injuries

Chiropractors' approach to treating these conditions involves assessing the entire body, including factors like posture, gait, and muscle imbalances, which may contribute to the problem. By addressing these underlying issues, chiropractors can help you achieve long-term relief from your symptoms.


It's important to note that chiropractic care is not just for people experiencing pain or discomfort. Many patients choose to see a chiropractor as a preventative measure to help maintain their overall health and wellness. By keeping the spine in proper alignment and addressing issues as they arise, patients can help prevent future problems from occurring.


Types of Insurance Coverage for Chiropractic Care

When considering chiropractic care, it's essential to understand the different types of insurance coverage available to determine if your insurance covers chiropractic.


Private Health Insurance

Many private health insurance plans - such as UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and others - include some level of chiropractic insurance coverage. Coverage may vary depending on the specific policy, with some plans offering more comprehensive benefits than others. In general, private health insurance plans cover chiropractic care as a form of outpatient care, meaning that you will likely need to pay a copayment or coinsurance for each visit. Some plans may require you to meet a deductible before coverage kicks in. Reviewing your policy details to know what kind and extent of coverage you have is essential.


It's also worth noting that some private health insurance plans may limit the number of chiropractic visits covered annually. If you plan to see a chiropractor regularly, expect out-of-pocket payments for additional visits beyond what your insurance covers.


Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare Part B covers chiropractic care for gently adjusting the spine to alleviate subluxations, a spinal misalignment that could interfere with nerve function. However, Medicare does not cover other services and supplies commonly associated with chiropractic care, such as X-rays, massage therapy, or acupuncture. To be eligible for coverage, you must have a qualifying condition and a referral from a physician.


Medicare will cover up to 80% of the cost of each visit, and you will be responsible for the remaining 20%.


Medicaid coverage for chiropractic services varies by state; some states offer limited coverage, while other state insurance may not cover chiropractic care at all. You should check with your state's Medicaid program to determine available coverage if you have Medicaid.


TRICARE

TRICARE doesn't cover chiropractic care for military retirees or their family members. However, options are available within the Military Health System, such as physical therapy and orthopedics. If those options don't fit the bill, explore chiropractic care in the local community. Remember that this program won't cover any chiropractic care obtained outside of designated military hospitals and clinics, so payment for those services must come out of pocket.


Active duty military members should contact the Chiropractic Health Care Program for their chiropractic needs.


U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The standard Medical Benefits Package offers chiropractic care to all eligible veterans. Chiropractic services are available at VA medical facilities within each Veterans Integrated Service Network. Some facilities in the community provide chiropractic to veterans when no services are available at the VA. In place of on-site chiropractic facilities, veterans are encouraged to contact the VA Community Care Program for more information.


Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Protection

Suppose your musculoskeletal issue results from a work-related injury or an auto accident. You may be eligible for chiropractic care coverage under workers' compensation or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Requirements for coverage and the extent of benefits vary by state and individual policy. In general, these provide chiropractic insurance coverage if it is deemed medically necessary to treat your injury. It's crucial to consult with your insurance carrier if you are seeking chiropractic treatment due to a work-related injury or auto accident.

Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars for eligible medical expenses. Chiropractic care is considered an eligible expense for both HSAs and FSAs, offering an excellent way to cover treatment costs. Be sure to check the specific guidelines for your account to confirm eligibility.


Several types of insurance coverage may help you pay for chiropractic care. If you are considering chiropractic treatment, review your insurance policy details and consult with your insurance carrier to determine what kind and extent of coverage you have. With the right coverage, you can receive the care you need to improve your musculoskeletal health and overall well-being.


Factors Affecting Insurance Coverage for Chiropractic Care


Policy Limitations and Exclusions

While many insurance plans offer coverage for chiropractic care, limitations and exclusions may apply. Some policies may enforce a limit on the number of chiropractic visits covered per year, while others may limit coverage to specific techniques or conditions. It's crucial to carefully review your policy to understand any restrictions impacting your coverage.


In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Providers

Insurance plans often differentiate between in-network and out-of-network providers regarding coverage. You should check your policy and ensure you visit an in-network provider to maximize your coverage. Seeing an in-network chiropractor usually results in lower out-of-pocket costs and more extensive coverage than seeking treatment from an out-of-network chiropractor.


Referral and Preauthorization Requirements

Some insurance plans may require a referral or preauthorization from a primary care physician before covering chiropractic care. Failing to obtain the necessary authorization or referral may result in denied claims or higher out-of-pocket costs. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your policy requirements and complete any necessary steps before starting treatment.

Copayments, Deductibles, and Coinsurance

It's essential to understand any applicable copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance requirements associated with your insurance coverage for chiropractic care. Copayments are typically a fixed amount you pay for each visit, while deductibles and coinsurance represent a percentage of the treatment cost you are responsible for. Knowing these costs in advance can help you budget and plan for your chiropractic care expenses.



How to Determine if Your Insurance Covers Chiropractic Care


Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

The best way to determine if your insurance covers chiropractic care is to review your policy documents carefully. Look for any sections related to chiropractic services, alternative medicine, or manual therapy to find information about coverage, limitations, and restrictions. Note any referral or preauthorization requirements and be prepared to follow the necessary steps for maximum coverage.


Contacting Your Insurance Provider

Contacting your insurance provider is helpful if you are unsure about your chiropractic care coverage or need clarification on specific policy details. Customer service representatives can help answer your questions and provide information about coverage, participating providers, and any requirements you need to meet to access benefits.


Consulting with Your Chiropractor's Office

Chiropractic offices are familiar with working with various insurance carriers and can often assist you in understanding your coverage. They can check your benefits, submit claims on your behalf, and help you navigate the insurance process more smoothly. Ask for assistance from your chiropractor's office regarding insurance questions.


Your Options if Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover Chiropractic

Be prepared to cover the costs out-of-pocket. If you believe it's time to visit a chiropractor, but your insurance doesn't cover the costs, prepare by contacting the office and asking about service fees. In your planning, budget for an initial consultation fee and an average price for specific services. Remember that you may need several sessions weekly at the beginning of your care.


Does Your Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care? - Conclusion

Yes, many insurance plans do cover chiropractic care in some capacity. By researching and consulting with appropriate parties, you can enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care with the financial support of your insurance coverage. Understanding the different types of coverage, specific policy limitations, and navigating the insurance process is essential to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.


Your Turn. Does your health insurance cover chiropractic care? What tips or advice do you have for others about this issue? Please share and leave a comment below.

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