Medicare Coverage for Chiropractic Care: Everything You Need to Know

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Medicare is a federal health insurance program that primarily serves individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities. While Medicare offers extensive coverage for various medical services, it’s essential to understand that chiropractic care falls under Part B, which covers outpatient services. Let’s delve deeper into the specific aspects of Medicare coverage for chiropractic care:

1. Medical Necessity and the Initial Examination

Medicare requires that chiropractic services be deemed medically necessary to be eligible for coverage. This means that you must have a condition that requires diagnosis or treatment by a chiropractor. To initiate coverage, you need to undergo an initial examination by a Medicare-approved chiropractor or other qualified healthcare provider. The examination helps establish the medical necessity of the chiropractic treatment.

2. Covered Services and Limitations

Under Medicare Part B, the following chiropractic services are covered when deemed medically necessary:

  • Manual manipulation of the spine to correct subluxation (misalignment)
  • Treatment for acute or chronic subluxation-related conditions

It’s important to note that Medicare only covers manual manipulation of the spine, commonly referred to as “adjustments.” Other services provided by chiropractors, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and X-rays, are typically not covered by Medicare.

3. Medicare Coverage Criteria

To qualify for Medicare coverage, the following conditions must be met:

  • The chiropractic services must be performed by a Medicare-approved chiropractor or other eligible healthcare provider.
  • The chiropractic care must be necessary and reasonable for the diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition.
  • The treatment must focus on correcting a subluxation-related condition and not for general wellness or maintenance care.

4. Cost and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

While Medicare does cover chiropractic services, it’s important to understand the potential costs involved. Here’s a breakdown of the typical expenses:

  • Part B Deductible: You must meet the annual deductible for Medicare Part B before coverage begins.
  • Part B Coinsurance: After the deductible is met, Medicare generally covers 80% of the approved amount for chiropractic services. You are responsible for the remaining 20%.
  • Additional Costs: If the chiropractor provides services or treatments not covered by Medicare, you will be responsible for paying those costs out of pocket.


In summary, Medicare does offer coverage for chiropractic care when it meets the necessary criteria and is deemed medically necessary. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the limitations and potential out-of-pocket costs associated with these services. Understanding Medicare’s guidelines for chiropractic care can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare needs and ensure you receive the coverage you require.

Key Takeaways:

  • Medicare covers chiropractic services when deemed medically necessary.
  • Covered services include manual manipulation of the spine for subluxation-related conditions.
  • Chiropractic care must be performed by a Medicare-approved provider.
  • Medicare generally covers 80% of the approved amount, with the remaining 20% and additional costs being the responsibility of the beneficiary.

Useful Resources:

  1. National Institutes of Health – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health – Provides information on complementary health approaches, including chiropractic care.
  2. American Chiropractic Association – Offers resources and educational materials on chiropractic care.
  3. – Chiropractic Services – Official information from Medicare regarding coverage for chiropractic services.
  4. American Physical Therapy Association – Offers insights on physical therapy and related treatments, including chiropractic care.

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