Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?

Medicare Part B medical insurance will cover chiropractic manipulation of the spine if it is medically necessary and only if one or more of the bones in your spine have slipped out of position. You are still responsible for your deductible and 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost.

Terry Turner, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Terry Turner

    Terry Turner

    Senior Financial Writer and Financial Wellness Facilitator

    Terry Turner has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including covering benefits, spending and congressional action on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He is a Certified Financial Wellness Facilitator through the National Wellness Institute and the Foundation for Financial Wellness and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®).

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  • Edited By
    Matt Mauney
    Matt Mauney, Senior Editor for RetireGuide

    Matt Mauney

    Financial Editor

    Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist, editor, writer and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience working for nationally recognized newspapers and digital brands. He has contributed content for ChicagoTribune.com, LATimes.com, The Hill and the American Cancer Society, and he was part of the Orlando Sentinel digital staff that was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2017.

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  • Published: August 25, 2020
  • Updated: August 2, 2022
  • 3 min read time
  • This page features 8 Cited Research Articles
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APA Turner, T. (2022, August 2). Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care? RetireGuide.com. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/treatments/pain-management/chiropractic/

MLA Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?" RetireGuide.com, 2 Aug 2022, https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/treatments/pain-management/chiropractic/.

Chicago Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care?" RetireGuide.com. Last modified August 2, 2022. https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/treatments/pain-management/chiropractic/.

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Key Takeaways
  • Medicare only pays for one type of chiropractic procedure: spinal manipulation for subluxation. Medicare will pay 80% of the cost if a doctor determines it’s a medically necessary procedure.
  • A Medigap policy can help cover your 20% share of the treatment cost that Original Medicare does not cover.
  • Select Medicare Advantage plans may cover additional chiropractic services not covered by Original Medicare.

What Is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal system — the structure of your muscles and skeleton — to heal a condition without surgery or medication.

Much of chiropractic care is focused on the spine and is applied as an alternative means of providing pain relief in the back, joints, bones, muscles and other tissue or skeletal structures in the body.

Chiropractors generally have a four-year undergraduate degree and four years of chiropractic college. They use hands-on procedures to manipulate bones in the spine or joints to reduce pain and improve movement or mobility.

Chiropractic care is often used following tissue damage caused by falls, stress, overexertion, accidents or even lack of back support while sitting.

Did You Know?
Chiropractors follow the same regulations and ethical code as medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy. They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures but may refer patients to other health care professionals if medication or surgery is medically warranted.

Will Medicare Cover Your Chiropractor?

Medicare only pays for one type of chiropractic procedure and only if it’s used to treat a condition called subluxation — when one or more of the vertebrae in your spine are out of position. Medicare Part B will cover manual manipulation of your spine if a doctor determines it’s medically necessary.

In these cases, Medicare will pay 80 percent of the Medicare-approved cost of the procedure. You will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent of the bill after paying your Part B deductible — $233 in 2022.

Did You Know?
While Medicare will cover the costs of X-rays ordered by a medical doctor, it will not pay for X-rays ordered by a chiropractor. You are responsible for the full cost of X-rays, acupuncture, massage therapy or other medical services that a chiropractor orders for you.

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Chiropractic Care?

Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover additional chiropractic services not covered by Medicare Part B.

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers. They are required to cover everything that Original Medicare covers. So they will cover medically necessary spinal manipulation for subluxation just like Medicare Part B.

But Medicare Advantage plans are allowed to provide additional coverage for other treatments. Each plan differs in what it covers, so you should check with your plan’s administrator or agent to find out if a procedure is covered.

Chiropractic Care with Medigap Plans

If you have Original Medicare and have chiropractic treatments, a Medigap policy will cover your 20 percent share of the treatment cost.

Medigap is a Medicare supplemental insurance that helps cover your out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare.

It can help pay for your coinsurance and copayments and, for some people with certain Medigap policies, it can help with deductibles.

Medigap plans sold to new enrollees with Medicare effective Jan. 1, 2020, are not allowed to cover the Medicare Part B deductible.

The deductible was $203 in 2021 and is $233 in 2022. You’d have to pay that deductible for Part B medical services on top of your 20 percent share of treatment cost.

Last Modified: August 2, 2022

8 Cited Research Articles

  1. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020, November 6). 2021 Medicare Parts A and B Premiums and Deductibles. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-medicare-parts-b-premiums-and-deductibles
  2. AARP. (2020). Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Services? Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-qa-tool/does-medicare-cover-chiropractic-care/
  3. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Misinformation Regarding Chiropractic Services. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/se1601.pdf
  4. Medical News Today. (n.d.). Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-medicare-cover-chiropractic
  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.). What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)? Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap
  7. Association of Chiropractic Colleges. (n.d.). What Is Chiropractic? Retrieved from https://www.chirocolleges.org/what-is-chiropractic-
  8. Palmer College of Chiropractic. (n.d.). What is Chiropractic? Retrieved from https://www.palmer.edu/about-palmer/chiropractic-profession/