Does Medicare Cover Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy can benefit your health, but Medicare will not cover it since it isn’t considered a medical necessity. As a result, you will pay 100 percent of the cost for massage therapy. A Medicare Advantage plan, which includes Original Medicare and additional benefits, could provide some coverage for massages.

Christian Simmons, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Christian Simmons

    Christian Simmons

    Financial Writer

    Christian Simmons is a writer for RetireGuide and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). He covers Medicare and important retirement topics. Christian is a former winner of a Florida Society of News Editors journalism contest and has written professionally since 2016.

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  • Edited By
    Lee Williams
    Lee Williams, senior editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lee Williams

    Senior Financial Editor

    Lee Williams is a professional writer, editor and content strategist with 10 years of professional experience working for global and nationally recognized brands. He has contributed to Forbes, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, AskMen.com, Electric Literature and The Wall Street Journal. His career also includes ghostwriting for Fortune 500 CEOs and published authors.

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  • Published: June 10, 2021
  • Updated: April 13, 2022
  • 2 min read time
  • This page features 9 Cited Research Articles
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APA Simmons, C. (2022, April 13). Does Medicare Cover Massage Therapy? RetireGuide.com. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/original-medicare/not-covered/massage-therapy/

MLA Simmons, Christian. "Does Medicare Cover Massage Therapy?" RetireGuide.com, 13 Apr 2022, https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/original-medicare/not-covered/massage-therapy/.

Chicago Simmons, Christian. "Does Medicare Cover Massage Therapy?" RetireGuide.com. Last modified April 13, 2022. https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/original-medicare/not-covered/massage-therapy/.

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Does Any Medicare Plan Cover Massage Therapy?

Even though there are many potential benefits to receiving massage therapy, Original Medicare will not cover it. Massage therapy is considered a complementary treatment and not medically necessary or critical to your health and wellbeing.

If you want massage therapy as part of treatment for a medical condition or general health improvement, you will be responsible for the entire cost.

Medicare supplemental insurance will also not help pay for massage therapy. Medigap can handle some of the costs for treatments and items that are already covered by Original Medicare.

You may be able to get coverage for massage therapy with a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans, which private insurance companies provide, include everything covered in Original Medicare as well as additional benefits.

Other Types of Therapy Covered by Medicare

If you were interested in massage therapy as a form of pain management, there are other types of treatments offered by Medicare under some circumstances. This includes medication management, occupational and group therapy.

Medicare Part D, an optional benefit that covers prescription drugs, could also help with pain management by providing more access to medications.

Medicare will also cover physical therapy if it is medically necessary and used to treat an injury or illness, like recovery from an accident or medical emergency.

Part A will cover inpatient physical therapy at a rehabilitation facility, while Part B will cover at-home or outpatient physical therapy. Massage could be part of physical therapy treatment.

Chiropractic care is covered by Medicare if there is a bone in your spine that is out of position. Acupuncture treatments for chronic lower back pain are covered, yet cap at 12 appointments in a 90-day span. You will typically pay 20 percent of the cost for most of these services.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy includes various massages and treatments that can manipulate your soft tissue for purposes that range from relaxation to treating illness.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, massages were among the earliest known methods to relieve pain in human history.

Potential Benefits of Massage Therapy
  • Stress relief
  • Anxiety and depression relief
  • Immune system improvements
  • Improved circulation and lower blood pressure
  • Sleep pattern improvements
  • Injury treatment
  • Reduce the risk of chronic conditions
  • Manage the symptoms of diabetes, gout and arthritis

According to the University of Minnesota, the national average cost for an hour-long massage is $60.

Last Modified: April 13, 2022

9 Cited Research Articles

  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2021, May 21). Massage Therapy: What You Need To Know. Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/massage-therapy-what-you-need-to-know
  2. University of Minnesota. (n.d.). How Can Massage Help My Health and Wellbeing? Retrieved from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/how-can-massage-help-my-health-and-wellbeing
  3. University of Minnesota. (n.d.). How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/how-much-does-massage-theraphy-cost#:~:text=The%20national%20average%20for%20a,members)%2C%20and%20therapist%20training.
  4. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Acupuncture. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/acupuncture
  5. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Chiropractic services. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/chiropractic-services
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Drug coverage (Part D). Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d
  7. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Massage therapy. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/massage-therapy
  8. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Pain management. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/pain-management
  9. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Physical therapy. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/physical-therapy